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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Intermediate Work : Some Miniature Food stuff

1/24 scale bread, 1/12 scale bento boxes
November 6th 2012

I started navigating to search for miniature food stuff a long time ago.  The thing is I’d like  to learn how to use my Fimo so I can make some stuff but I just don’t have the manual control I once had.  I’m not writing it off just yet but I wanted to see if I could find some finished food and at the right price.

I searched a number of different sites and came across the problem of scale.  This house is slightly larger than half scale and not quite 1/12 scale but some things can actually fit even if they are larger scale.  The 1/24 scale is really very tiny and depending on the food I have to be able to see the objects next to a measuring tape or ruler or a penny to gauge if it’s correct or not.  Another hinderance was that I needed Japanese food.  The house is supposed to be a Japanese inn so I really needed some oriental dishes.

I found one site that makes really lovely detailed 1/24 scale food.  But it was much too small (see the loaf of bread on the table above).  So I ended up searching on Ebay.  I found two sellers out of Thailand that had very nice ceramic and food products.  One in particular had the Coke cooler which I really wanted in the foyer of the inn.  It also had the bento boxes and the dim sum bamboo steamers so I purchased from them.  I think the scale is going to look just fine and the prices are very honest.

Bento Boxes

Dim Sum

I also made purchases from another Ebay seller who also has their own site.  I got mostly fruit and veg from them and you can see those in my kitchen shelving.  They also had whole fish and some knives so I bought these from them too.  The fish were essential if I wanted to have fish plates being prepared in the kitchen.  In fact they look pretty realistic sitting on the butcher’s block.
Apples, pears and some sweets which I will use with a tea set.

The final purchase was from a food miniaturist who is pretty famous.  She makes lots of food and sells them in slices or in canes (which can be sliced by you).  They tend to be more expensive as a food solution but I was able to get hold of some sashimi packets (50pcs) some shrimp, salmon steak and smoked salmon.  I then could create my own dishes.  I eventually want these dishes to be set out in preparation for bringing them to the guest’s rooms. 
Tiny sashimi and lemon slices.

Shrimp, salmon steaks and sashimi.

I used liquid Fimo to glue the loose pieces onto the cute dishes (purchased off Ebay together with the Coke cooler) along with some sliced sashimi pieces on to the tray.  I also got some ice off the same seller and fimo’d that onto the tray.  All you have to do is heat the pieces up in the oven on its lowest setting to fix the liquid Fimo.  I think it works better than superglue or other liquid glue solutions because you have to wait so long for the glue to dry.

Fimo Liquid
Fish prep tray, sashimi and salmon plate

Set up on the table
I’m not sure if I can afford to make frequent purchases from the Angie Scarr site so I may have to attempt some Fimo food on my own (thinking about a joint of meat or something - or even a Kobe steak!) but I’m pretty far from that right now.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Intermediate Work : A Hibachi Grill

October 18th - 22nd 2012

Still working on some Halloween decorations but in between waiting for glue to dry, I found this really cute free hibachi printie.  So I had to make it.

Just to explain, a hibachi is a small grill that usually in America is used outdoors but in Japan can also be found in a table version.  They are usually also made of cast iron (ghisa) so they are pretty resistant to rust.  But I had two ideas for my hibachi.  One would be a grill that can be used in a room but also that it has been well used!  I wanted a little rust and dirt on my hibachi.

The printie was scaled down to my 1/20 size more or less.  I then glued it together and painted it black.  I also gave it a second hand of water/glue to harden it up and make it a little stronger.  I used paints and some fine grain sand to simulate the ash filled fire worn interior.  I’m surprised how effective this was.
Fine grain sand and some white and grey/blue paint for ashes.  Terracotta color for rust.

I used one of the plastic sink strainers (the ones I found 6/1 euro and made a basket of one in a previous post) and cut them up to make the grills.  A little paint and sizing and the grills look pretty good.  The last addition was to make some coals.  I had bought some “coal” when I went to Miniatur Wunderland in Germany (instead of black gravel, it’s actually cut up rubber which is pretty cool because you can cut pieces smaller or larger as needed) so just needed to paint them a little to simulate hot coals. 

Glueing the coal to the grate.
Top grate - empty habachi
Removeable coal fire.

With the top grate.  Just need some food for grillin'!

Now all I need is some food for my grill !!! (my next internet order...till I learn how to use Fimo clay I suppose.)

28th October 2012

Added a fish and some steaks to my hibachi.   

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Halloween Break !

The Haunted Halloween Mansion

October 5th - 14th 2012

Ok, so as usual, I am easily distracted.

I am working on planning a little Halloween decorating (since here in Italy it is not really celebrated or it’s celebrated the wrong way - with fire crackers and general tricks instead of treats) which I usually do for a selected group of friends and their kids.  So I like to do a nice table with scary stuff and sweeties.  As I’m searching around, I came across some really cute printable caskets and coffins to be used for putting candy or whatever on the table.  As I’m navigating the page, I realise that this page, Ravensblight, also has a printable haunted house.  Now THAT is just what I needed!

When I was a kid (young like maybe 11 or 12 because we were still living in Boston), I remember building from cardboard scraps a haunted house.  Course I remember this little cardboard masterpiece as a mansion so I’m sure it was just scotch taped pieces and drawings all over the place.  I was pretty creative even back then so it was probably pretty cool but my desire to have the house hang around on the back porch (a closed-in porch my Dad referred to as his “boudoir”) and eventually my Mom got sick of seeing it and told me to chuck it out.  So, I suppose I reluctantly did.

Now this house building thing it seems has always been in my psyche since the haunted house building days to my gigantic gingerbread house at Christmas (with stained glass windows from melting hard candy which - when finally broken down and thrown out was carried off by some neighborhood dog), so, when I saw this printie, I knew I had to make it and make it better. 

It took a good week of actually printing off all the 22 pages (of which my ink cartridge died so I had to get a new one), cutting and testing a few methods of gluing to see which one took quicker.  But once I got in the groove, the house went together quickly.

I added a few of my own embellishments.  I spread some glue on the grass patches and sprinkled that with brown and green grounds used in train HO landscaping.  Then I added some bushes and even lit the garden lamp with one of my LEDs that I am using for the ryokan dollhouse (I will remove the LED once Halloween is over). 

The last addition was printing off a haunted bride and groom plus a grim reaper from the same Ravensblight page.  I just reduced them down to size and set them up on the porches.  They look sufficiently spoooky.

Fun too is that the haunted house can actually be picked up to reveal a hidden box inside.  I don’t know yet what I want to hide.  Perhaps some candy body parts??

Happy Halloween !!!!

Haunted Bride & Groom

Grim Reaper and his Hour Glass awaits....

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Intermediate Work - The Bamboo Shades, An Iris Plant

Shibuya Town Feed - inspiration for the bamboo shades.
October 1st - 4th 2012

I had seen on a feed some nice fotos of Shibuya in Japan and in one of these fotos, there were these lovely bamboo shades which were hung on the outside of the terraces in many of the two story houses.  It reminded me of the same shading process here in Italy but here they use fabric curtains that just serve to block out the sun and heat during the day.  Most have these rolling full window shades but if you want to move in and out of a door, you need one of these curtains.  So, I decided my ryokan would have some bamboo shades to keep out the heat and sun.

I did some searching on the internet and came across a tutorial where you can use a bamboo placemat as a bamboo shade.  The bamboo slats are the correct scale so all I needed to do was find some bamboo placemats.  Years ago I found a ton and now all of a sudden I couldn’t find any!  As luck would have it, one day at Ikea, in the discount section (where they dump opened packages or the stuff they use in display) there was a nice bamboo placemat for a Euro 1.50.  Can’t go wrong with that! So I picked it up.
Ikea E 1.50 place mat!! Yoohoo!

Glueing the edges where I plan to cut thru
The first thing to do was to glue the slats where I would be cutting since we didn’t want the threads to unravel.  So, after taking some measurements, I glued the top and bottom and waited overnite to be sure the string was hardened and set.  Then I cut using my exacto-knife.  The bottom of the matt was perfect as a support to hang the shade.  I then measured out some black DMC thread, tied one end, threaded it round the back and up the front again and back thru.  The whole ordeal was because I wanted my shades to actually open and close.  I had to find a way to fix the threads across the top and I did that with some bugle beads.  Threading through those was a pain (I had to glue the tip of the floss to a fine point to thread it thru) but eventually I got both threaded and secured.  I used a small orange bead to weight the end of the pull.
Cutring the matts to size for the shade
Threading the bugle beads...

...and glueing them in place so the string would slide.

Glueing the back support (bottom piece of the placemat)

The next part was a little more difficult.  I had to figure out a way to weather the bamboo shades on one side.  I really didn’t like the new look to them.  I generally do not like the whole ryokan looking brand spanking new so the shades had to look a little sun faded.  I tried using household bleach and a paintbrush but it just isn’t concentrated enough.  Neither was hydrogen peroxide.  Only solution was to put some bleach soaked paper towels on the sun bleached side and let them sit on there for around 5 hours.  That did the trick enough to please me.  I then added a little graphite colored paint (has a bit of a blue hue) to make the shades look weathered. 
Top side now slightly weathered, underneath still fairly clean.
Attaching the shades was great since the bottom piece of the placemat was actually almost the exact same width as the space between the top window sill and the under roof beam.  Just a bit of sanding and those fit in perfectly. 

And the shades do go up and down! Fun!

Funky little flower petals - also a find.

The finished vase.... situ.

I also found some small terracotta vases which were a good size for the house.  I aged one with some brown and green and then stuffed it with some of the pink flowers I had purchased.  I also found a package of blue purple flowers and used the same method as making the geranium petals - squishing them on the mousepad - then glueing them to a green wire support.  I then inserted an iris that I had purchased from DHE UK site.  I think it looks quite nice on the porch! 

Next will tackle the magnetic closure of the first floor porches.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Chapter 59 - Left Hand Porch Awnings

Masking tape to hold in place for fitting.
Sanding down one piece for fitting.
September 18 - 27th 2012

This chapter came with the awnings which needed to be fitted onto the outside of the porch.  Fitting was necessary because during the build, the porch is not quite perfectly lined up around.  The instructions had me using double sided tape to keep the pieces in place while I measured and sanded the pieces down to fit.  Course the tape wouldn’t hold so I just used regular masking tape which leaves less damage and holds the pieces on while I sanded then fitted, sanded and refitted etc.

One piece in particular needed some heavy sanding.  It was off by quite a bit.  The trick was to sand to fit the front without distorting the back end.  I had to use the power sander for this one but in the end it seems to fit fairly well.

Next part was adding the underside beaming.  These needed to be spaced about 18mm from each other.  Since the corners need to line up underneath with larger corner beams, I had to leave some spaces on the end to be attached once the awnings are actually installed.  After that, it was just a matter of staining, varnishing and adding in the white tips for the overall decoration. 
Spacing the beams....

Painting the ends of the beams with white.

See through wood!

 In this chapter they gave us a sheet of thin wood paper (for lack of a better word).  The wood was so thin you could see thru it.  First I had to apply the double sided tape to the back, then measure out 1 cm lines where I would cut the wood.  Next was to actually paint some of the pieces darker so I just painted half the board with darker brown paint.  The first awnings on the ground floor we were given white wood board a little thicker than this one.  Consequently, I ended up with quite a few pieces of white shingles.  Something that this piece doesn’t have.  Luckily I saved all the other shingles as well as a sheet of the wood unstained.  Also because in the instructions, they say to stain the cut 1cm strips.  But I learned that this tends to bow out incredibly and I ended up with most of the shingles bowing out (and I still don’t know how to fix that) on the first floor awnings.  It looks rustic and I may play with that look more but I figured if I could get these shingles to lay down flatter it would be better.  Hence painting before and then flattening it under the cutting pad until dry.  Then cutting up the shingles into individual pieces.  It seems they were less bowed so this will be the procedure from now on.
Double sided tape underneath.

1cm height measured out for cutting.
Stained and then.....

Cut up strips around 1cm each, then irregular sized shingles.
Sorted by color for easier application.

Placing the shingles.  A little uneven is nice.
Finished awning.

After painting and cutting them into various width pieces, I began attaching them to the awnings.  The time consuming factor was simply peeling the tape off the back.  It was a total pain in the ass.  The tape never came off cleanly.  So, after a week of peeling, I managed to complete the 4 awnings.  Since they met up sort of off (with too much space) I decided to actually apply a few shingles over the junction of the awnings.  A little glue and masking tape to hold it in place over nite and the trick was done.

Masking tape to hold the awnings in place overnite.

Glue to hold the filler shingles.
Filler shingles did the trick.  Much cleaner.

Clamping the larger underside beams overnite.

 The underside just needed the larger beams and fill in small beams (with painting the tips) and this chapter was complete.  It really was hard to match up the awnings - I even have them off a bit on the right - but instead of unattaching everything that is the way it’s gonna be!

Finished port awnings! Only took a week!