Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Favorite Posts of 2011 - Link Party

I've often visited decorating and crafting blogs that offer link parties. A link party is a blog post that visitors may contribute a photo from their blog and a link to their post. It's a fun way to get inspired, meet new friends and show your stuff!

Since there are so many talented people with blogs about miniatures, I thought it would be fun to create a link party so that participants may share their favorite blog post of the year from their blog.

I'll start with my favorite post of the 2011:
Miniature Roses Tutorial (found here). I had fun creating these roses to go into my florist box kits.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas - True2Scale

Please enjoy this festive display created by Pilar. She used the glitter church, windmill and barn kits. Thank you for sharing, Pilar!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

50 Miniature Christmas Tutorials

I should be doing numerous things to prepare for the holidays — shopping, cleaning, decorating— but instead I am thinking about what fun it would be to try some holiday-themed tutorials! Here are a few links that I have collected:
  1. Bow making Andrea Thieck
  2. Polymer clay candles My Small Obsession
  3. Ham Slices Daniela Nielsen via YouTube
  4. Turkey with garnish Julie Old Crow via The Mini Food Blog
  5. Oranges Angie Scarr
  6. Candy and caning Chrissy via CDHM
  7. AIM 2011 advent calendar (24 projects)
  8. AIM 2010 advent calendar (24 projects)
  9. AIM 2009 advent calendar (24 projects)
  10. Christmas tree Victoria Miniland
  11. Beaded Santa Victoria Minland
  12. Tiny snowman Victoria Miniland
  13. Fire for your fireplace Merry Jingle
  14. Gingerbread Stephanie Kilglast via CDHM
  15. Egg nog Mary Eccher
  16. Christmas pudding Mary Eccher
  17. Christmas punch Mary Eccher
  18. Hedgehog cake Todd Toys and Miniatures.com
  19. Wreath and candles Todd Toys and Miniatures.com
  20. Christmas cake Todd Toys and Miniatures.com
  21. Poinsettia Abby Benner via CDHM
  22. Leg of lamb Linda Cummings via CDHM
  23. Straw ornaments Miniatures & masions de poupées
  24. Mistletoe Miniatures & masions de poupées
  25. Christmas boxes True2Scale
  26. Christmas cactus about.com
  27. Needlepoint stocking about.com
  28. Swedish Christmas Joann Swanson
  29. Cookies Pine Studio
  30. Gingerbread house Pine Studio
  31. Ornaments Smallwood Village
  32. Toys in 1/144 scale Frances Armstrong
  33. Shopping bag and gift box On The Scene
  34. Christmas tree skirt pattern Laurel Wheeler
  35. Ornament box Christine Woolsey
  36. Printable sleigh about.com
  37. Toy soldiers box Natalie Gayle Miniatures
  38. Seashell angel Butterfly Dreams
  39. Printable wrapping paper 1 and 2 Jean Day
  40. Printable nativity scene Jean Day
  41. Printable micro Christmas room Jean Day
  42. Wrapping paper TreeFeathers
  43. Victorian Christmas cards TreeFeathers
  44. Sheet Music TreeFeathers
  45. Ornament boxes TreeFeathers
  46. Gift boxes 1 and 2 TreeFeathers
  47. Gift bags Treefeathers
  48. Tinsel tree Puchicollective
  49. Teapot from polymer clay Christel Jensen via YouTube
  50. Cheesecake Christel Jensen
Additional holiday tutorials shared by readers:
 If you would like to share a link to a holiday tutorial, please leave a comment below.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Customer Photos

I really enjoying seeing photos from customers that show how they finished the glitter house kits.  Thank you for sharing your lovely work, Mary and Marie-Louise! More photos from customers may be seen in the Customer Gallery.

Feeling inspired to grab the glitter and customize your own glitter house? Enter the True2Scale Glitter House Contest! Share your creation and you could win a prize.

Marie-Louise Markhorst's mantel scene with the Snow Village Cottage.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fun Finds from the Madrid Show

We had a successful and enjoyable trip to the Madrid show. Our very limited Spanish vocabulary was a bit problematic, but the shoppers were patient and very kind to us! Mr. True2Scale and I met some fellow bloggers and blog readers and truly felt welcomed in Spain! 

The show provided another opportunity to see the work of many artists that were previously unknown to me.

LxL Cruces offered beautiful jewelry and other finely detailed items. I purchased a souvenir from Spain — a miniature bottle of the famous Tio Pepe (Uncle Pepe)! If you are not familiar with Spain’s famous sherry, LxL offers a short explanation.

Casas de Beltrán Escrivá de Romaní (Houses of Beltrán) creates fantastic, custom-made models of Spanish homes found throughout regions of Spain. The architectural details were stunning! Beltrán will ship to international destinations and have some great photos on their website. Unfortunately, I couldn't add one to my collection, but it was a temptation!
Casa Madrid Austrias I by Beltran Escriva de Romani.

Cristina Alberti, from Tot Petit, creates dolls, plants, paper theaters and toys, books and other lovely items.

Clémence Gibert Miniature Furniture occupied the table next to us. She creates fantasy, inlaid-wood furniture that is is inspired by the Art Nouveau style. Woods she uses include walnut, pear, maple and zebrawood.

There was one table that I could have stared at for hours! In fact, I returned several times to admire the work of Artesanos Felipe Royo. Their tile, furniture, painted objects and sewn pieces are all handmade, and of beautiful quality. After several rounds of deliberations, I finally chose a chandelier for the bedroom of the Tuscan house. The light fixture is just taped in place now, but I will wire it with an LED. The chandelier is handpainted with a motif of butterflies and vines. I think it will add a feminine touch to the room.

Handpainted chandelier from Artesanos Felipe Royo

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Madrid Show

If you will be attending the Madrid show this weekend, please stop by our table and say hello!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Who Lives Here?

A sorcerer? witch? hermit? Perhaps a creature from the forest? As I viewed the custom, fantasy dwellings created by Bas Middel of Poppen(T)huismy imagination started to take flight!

Bas's structures are handcrafted from wood and clay. Even the hinges on the doors and shutters are created from wood so that your attention isn't taken away from the natural forms.

The interior of the top floor. I love all of the built-in niches!

The interior of the bottom floor and stairway.

Bas Middel and his fantasy creations at the Arnhem fair.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Arnhem Fair - My Introduction to European Artists

We returned from Amsterdam last night. I am jet-lagged (I started writing this at 4 a.m.), but full of excitement and inspiration. I couldn't wait to sit down and write up an account of our experiences at the Arnhem fair.

The Arnhem Poppenhuisstad was the first time I was able to see the work of European artists other than that of the artisans who make the trip to the Chicago International. Mr. True2Scale manned our table alone often, so I could see the tables of some of the approximately 200 dealers. I am certain that I didn't see all of them; but the work of the ones I saw, and their kindness made an impression on me that I won't forget.

Mr. True2Scale is pretending to be a miniature display.

Our table was near the back of the hall, on the end of a row. Our neighbors were so kind and helpful. Next to us was J en M (email). He creates small wooden objects; mostly toys, puzzles and children's lights, with incredible detail. Carla Zandvliet (email) makes beautiful flowers and Christmas decorations from silk. They are very fine and have a translucent quality. 

Fennicole Miniatures 

Behind us was Fennicole Miniatures. Such nice people! Their popular table contained many things that I haven't seen before in the U.S., including unusual shaped flowerpots, wall pockets, tiles and items for landscaping a French scene. Fortunately, some of the items also work well in a Tuscan house and found their way to my suitcase!

And then there was E. Elsner von Gronow, from Germany. I purchased some embossed metal borders (made mostly by hand in Germany) and tiny filigree ornaments.

Piamini, from France (email), offered unique metal and wood items including folding chairs, tables and benches for the garden. I purchased a green bench for the Tuscan house. Such kind people!

Garden bench by Piamini; some of the pots from Fennicole Miniatures.

Volker Arnold, whose work I have always admired at Chicago International, had a large display and many items that I hadn't seen before. I purchased a couple of his tiny Santa's sleighs. He was kind enough to take a photo with me (I was too shy to ask for his autograph as well – ha ha).

Pitcher and egg cups;
Elisabeth Causeret.
Elisabeth Causeret (email) from France had a beautiful selection of 1:12 and 1:24 scale porcelain to choose from. It took a long time to decide on which items I couldn't live without. Finally, I bought two egg cups and a pitcher.

Antique toy kitchen kit
from Sylvia's Lutjeboudel.
Sylvia's Lutjeboudel offers Brocante style furniture kits in wire and wood. Her kits are so charming and unique! I purchased a baby carriage and an antique toy kitchen that includes directions and supplies to make a toy stove, cabinet and cookware. Sylvia is such a kind person and introduced me to many new Dutch customers. I owe her a big dank je wel!

Lara and her daughter stopped by to say hello. Margriet also came by. I had pleasant conversations with the talented Michelle Lebouteiller of Petits Bonheurs and Pia Ravn from Denmark, who both make lovely items. Another interesting artist whom I met is Sherpa. He creates gothic-inspired miniatures. He showed me a coffin that he made into a ladies' purse - truly creative and fantastic!

Close to our table was Poppen(T)huis. Bas Middel creates custom fantasy houses from wood and clay. I took several photos of his displays that I will share in another blog post.

Mr. Bea/Tony Broadwood from Petite Properties found a new customer. I decided to plunge into 1:48 scale and purchased a kit and books for making a shop and furniture. Maybe I'll pick up some new skills for quarter scale and offer 1:48 glitter house kits in the future...mmmm...maybe.

Peiwen Petitgrand/Oiseau deNim
While we were setting up our table on Friday, I met Peiwen of Oiseau deNim. If I hadn't recognized her face from pictures, I would know it was her by the Ladurée bag she was carrying! Peiwen's table was nearby and it was full of fantastic items. Her fish and artichokes are ...oh my! She has been doing a lot of vegetables lately and they are incredibly realistic. And Peiwen is every bit as charming and charismatic in person as I had imagined! If you have the opportunity to meet her, you will find that her energy is contagious! It was fun to share our first fair experience together. 

The Ladurée bag that Peiwen gave me contained a box of macaroons and delicious Marco Polo tea. Some time back, I mentioned on my blog that I'd never had the opportunity to try Ladurée. Well, thanks to Peiwen, Mr. T2S and I were in patisserie heaven! As we bit into the macaroons, they melted (yes, melted!) on our tongues. The crisp, slightly sweet outer wafers gave way to the lightest creme filling. The texture and taste sent waves of euphoria through every synapse! 

Artichoke, dish and Ladurée items; Oiseau deNim
We are both back to work today after only a few hours of sleep. Before we attend the Madrid show, we will have a few days to make some new plans for True2Scale. Perhaps some of the plans will include a visit to France  :-)  Also, I hope to sneak in some time to work on some of the kits I purchased!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Getting Ready for Arnhem

I've been absent from the blogs lately because I've been spending a great deal of time preparing for the Arnhem fair. I'm excited to show several new things, including a windmill kit in 2 color choices (the fans turn) and a 1:24 scale Snow Village kit (includes all 5 buildings). For the mini patisserie chefs, there will be new cupcake wrappers with fancy edges.

If you will be in Arnhem Oct 28-30, please stop by table PC12 and say hello!

New Windmill Kits and several buildings from the 1:24 scale Snow Village set.

 The fans of the Windmill kits turn and they include an LED light.

New 1:24 scale Snow Village Set. Includes 5 buildings. LEDs are available.

New cupcake wrappers with fancy edges.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Spooky Treat

I really LOVE receiving photos from customers showing what they've created with the True2Scale kits. I add them to the Customer Gallery.

Yesterday, I received an email from Mary Broaddus that made my jaw drop! She truly took the Halloween Glitter House Kit to the next level! The photos speak for themselves.

Mary created everything on the table from scratch; with the exception of the cat container, which she altered.

The Glitter House Kit which Mary used.

Mary tries to make everything on her tables; sometimes even making the tables. She has recently started selling on Etsy.  Thanks for sharing your fantastic work, Mary!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Vintage Plates and Platter Printables

The September issue of AIM Magazine is available! To go with the dining theme, I designed this vintage luncheon set in 1:12, 1:24 and 1:48 scales. The instructions for using decal paper are included on the download. Please enjoy and don't forget to drop on over to AIM Magazine for more projects and inspiration!

Download the high resolution artwork and instructions.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Finished Tuscan Villa

Many thanks to SMRD Studio for creating my dream home in miniature! Now for the fun part... furnishing it!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Marigold Flower in a Milk Carton

As a child, I loved to go to the annual parade in the small town where we lived. The floats would be creative; the music festive; and if you weren't a participant in the spectacle, you always knew most of the people who were. When I got a little older and bagan marching in the high school band, the heat trapped in our navy blue polyester uniforms and vinyl hats kept me from enjoying the parade experience. To aggravate the situation further, oftentimes the band had to march directly behind the Clydesdale horses!

One of the best memories I have from the parades is the merry clowns. Never mind that the kids always knew who the clowns were; it was still fun to hold out your hands to them in hopes of receiving a marigold flower planted in a butter or milk carton. The sunshine-like cartons usually found their way to the windowsill above Mom's kitchen sink.

I've had so much fun recreating the childhood memory in miniature for others to enjoy as a kit.

Marigold flower in a milk carton kit.

Friday, August 5, 2011

LED Lighting Tutorial for Glitter Houses

I've had several requests for directions on lighting up the glitter house kits with LED lights. Hopefully, this tutorial will answer those questions as well as provide some general tips about working with LEDs.

Complete LED lighting set.
You will need:
First, a basic introduction to LED lights (the tutorial follows):

Why LEDs?
LED lights are much more efficient than incandescent bulbs.
  • They don't get hot (perfect for glitter houses, Christmas trees, and places where the lights will be dangerously close to flammable items).
  • They last a LONG time - 10 years/10,000 hours. It's very unlikely that you will have to tear apart your project to replace an LED light.
  • They give off a lot of light. In fact, sometimes they give off more light than is needed for our miniature projects. Thankfully there are ways to cut down the amount of light (discussed below).
  • They are tougher to break than an incandescent light because there isn't a filament.
What kind of power source do I need for LED lights?
LEDs for miniaturists are typically available in 3V, 9V and 12V. Depending upon the type of LED, you may use a:
  • 3V coin cell battery
  • 9V battery 
  • 9V regulated power adapter (it's important to check that the adapter is regulated; most are not)
  • 12V dollhouse power supply 
IMPORTANT: Make sure that the LED that you purchase is compatible with the power source that you intend to use it with.

A blue LED lends an eery look
to the Halloween Glitter House.
All of the LED lights purchased from True2Scale should be used with a 3V coin cell battery CR2032, NOT a dollhouse power supply or a 9V battery. The 3V battery is preferred for the glitter houses because it is small and allows for the freedom to move the display around without having to worry about hooking it up to a stationary power supply (for example: an outlet in your dollhouse). Also, the battery allows up to 10 lights to run for about 12 hours. 3 lights will run on a single battery for about 40 hours. The battery can then be changed.

This hutch, decorated by After Dark Miniatures, contains 8 glitter houses
with LED lighting. Battery and switch are located on the back of the hutch.

How to Add an LED Light to Your Glitter House Kit 

Conducting a Trial Test
Before the house is glued to the base, but after the roof piece(s) have been attached, you may wish to check the light. It is a good idea to see how the position of the LED in the house affects the way the light shines through the windows and door.
  1. Slip the battery into the battery holder (A), making sure that the plus (+) side of the battery is on the same side as the plus (+) sign on the battery holder. 
  2. Twist the LEDs red wire to the red wire on the switch (B). Then, twist the other wire to the black wire on the switch. 
  3. Turn on the switch. If it doesn't light up, take it to a dark room (this is a very small light after all) and try again. 
  4. When it is lit, slip it inside of the glitter house before the base has been glued to the house. Move the LED around to see how the light shines through the windows and door. Make a mark inside of the house showing the desired position of the LED. 
  5. Untwist the wires.
    Battery and battery holder (A), Switch (B), Shrink-tube (C), LED light (D)

    Changing the Brightness of the LED
    In my opinion, the LEDs are a bit too bright for the tiny glitter houses. To dim the light, I paint over the bulb with a white or cream color paint. Acrylic or enamel work just fine. If you feel that you want to dim the lights even more, you may wish to use 1/4 watt resistors. These come in a package of varying tolerances. You'll want to try different color resistors out to see which tolerance you prefer. You will need 2 resistors. 1) Slide the shrink tube over the wires. 2) Twist the red wire of the LED to the first resistor; twist the red wire of the switch to the resistor. 3) twist the green wire of the LED to the second resistor; twist the black wire of the switch to the other end of the second resistor. 4) Slide the shrink tubes over the connections and heat with a hair dryer until they have shrunk tightly around the connections.

    Making the LED Wires Shorter
    Straighten the wire of the LED. Figure out the length you want the bulb's wires to be. If you need to shorten the wires, you can re-expose the ends by gently sanding with a piece of fine sandpaper.

    Attaching the Light to the Glitter House
    Put a small amount of super glue on the inside of the house where you marked the position of the LED. Attach the LED to the house with the yellow side facing out (a green arrow is printed on the back side of the LED). Clamp the LED to the house with a tweezers or transparent tape and allow to dry thoroughly. Bend the wires to exit the back of the house. Don't worry about hiding the wires; they are so fine that they will not cause gaps, and may be covered with white paint, glue and glitter to blend into the snow. Glue the base to the house and decorate the house according to the directions supplied with the glitter house kit.

    Connecting the LED to the Switch
    Slip the black shrink-tubes (C) over the ends of the wire on the switch (B). Push them toward the switch. As before, you will twist the red wires together; and twist the black wire and the remaining wire together. Pull the black tubes down to cover the connections. Heat with a hair dryer until the black tubes shrink down to fit tightly around the wires. Enjoy your beautifully lit glitter house!

    Adding Additional LEDs to One Battery

    This is the method that I teach in workshops:
    1. Remove the colored varnish (red and green) from the ends of all the wires. You'll want approx. 1-1/2" of VERY SHINY copper showing. The easiest way is to burn it off with a lighter. Then use fine sandpaper to remove the charring. Again, the wires should be shiny copper when you are finished. The key to a good connection is removing the varnish completely.
    2. Hold all of the red wires PARALLEL. Twist the wires together VERY tightly. Do the same with                                                         the green wires. 
    3. Strip about 1" of the insulation from the wires on the switch unit. Put shrink tubes over the wires. Hold the red wire on the switch unit PARALLEL to the red wires of the LEDs. Twist together very tightly. Do the same with the black wire/green wires. 
    4. Fold the twisted portion of the wires down and pull the shrink tube over top of the bundle of wires. Test your connection. If it works without flickering, you're ready to heat the shrink tube with a hairdryer.
    5. Heat the shrink tubes with a hair dryer until the tubes have shrunk completely around the connections. 
    I recommend using no more than 10 LEDs per battery. The more LEDs used, the sooner the battery will need to be changed.

    Thursday, July 28, 2011

    N.A.M.E. National Convention 2011

    Last weekend, Mr. True2Scale and I attended our first N.A.M.E. National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. We had a fun time getting to know fellow miniaturists, eating great food, and shopping for items for my soon-to-arrive Tuscan house. And...a visit to Cleveland isn't complete without touring the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After all, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see the meat dress!

    This year's convention theme was With a Song in My Heart. The souvenirs given to the attendees reflect the musical theme.

    The 1:12 scale souvenirs were a dress worn by Deborah Kerr in The King and I, made by JoAnn Roberts; an adjustable music stand by Tom Walden; and blue suede shoes by Sylvia Rountree. The steering committee made a gift to complement each souvenir, including a wooden wall hook for the dress; sheet music and a storage box; and a framed, gold record of Blue Suede Shoes.

    A portion of my table at Mini Mart.
    The convention provided me with my first opportunity to sell my mini kits at a show. I sold as part of the Mini Mart, a 2-hour Thursday night frenzy that left Husband and me breathless and exhausted! Thank goodness for the help of a kind friend who assisted with writing receipts.

    On Friday, I took a class from Shannon Moore and learned to make a corner chair. It's a beautiful piece that I some day hope to finish and post a picture. I REALLY do want to finish that chair!

    I spent part of the weekend enjoying the exhibits. I was especially fond of the design and construction of the Three Gables display, a home for three different shops. Here are some of the creative exhibits at the NAME National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio (the photos taken with my phone do not do them justice!):

    Three Gables created by Sue Ann Ketchum,
    designed by Greenfield Creations; 1:12 scale

    Holiday House at Christmas by Karen Marsh;
    1:48 scale

    The Greenhouse at Christmas by Karen Marsh;
    1:48 scale

    Part of a large exhibit, The Shops at Maxwell Square by Terri Maxwell;
    1:12 scale greenhouse and florist shop.

    Interior of the greenhouse.

    Working fountain surrounded by shops.

    Hunny House by Karen Marsh; 1:48 scale