Saturday, November 8, 2014

Old, older, 'oldst' ;)

Hello again my dear minifriends, I'm so glad you're here! It's pretty quiet here isn't it? But not in my head, where lots of old and new (mini)ideas are always floating around, giving a nice ring to my mind and something fun to focus on. And since a couple of weeks I can even do a little here and there and I'm hoping to finish and show some items soon, can't wait!

What I like to show you now and I'm very excited about is some old stuff; really, REALLY old. I've had them a while now and wanted to show them when I had been able to make simple displays for them, but that might take a while because I want to do the other things first, so here they are!
Getting to own these great old relics got started with Pinterest where I came across something from Tony's great blog Miniature Treasures. Tony uses treasures, hence his blog name, he finds in the ground like old coins and other beautiful stuff for most of his miniatures. Which make them beyond special I think. I wouldn't want to (or could) copy what he does, but the idea of using old small relics in miniatures appealed to me.

Out of curiosity and not expecting to find anything, I did a quick search for artefacts on our Dutch online marketplace, comparable to Ebay and Craigslist. To my surprise I found a seller of some great ones that wouldn't leave my mind... From a bunch of other wonderful excavated ministuff I choose the 3 I couldn't choose between, weren't too expensive and also fitted the 1:12th scale best. I asked them from my boyfriend for my birthday that was coming up. Well, sort of, it was only 6 weeks away :D. Not something I usually do, but wanted to make the exception. And lucky for me, he thought it was a great idea!

Not sure if pieces such as these would be more likely to be found in a miniature museum as opposed to a miniature antique&old stuff-store, but if not: hey, that's the great thing about this mini world, we can do things the way we like!
there's just nothing like natural aging, there's no way I could distress anything like this!
The bronze 2000 year (!) old horse (3cm's or 1 and 3/16th inch) has been used as a cloak pin or a woman's stole in ancient Rome, called a fibula (yes, like the bone). Because of it's purpose it's flat on the back and has things on that back that once held the actual pin. It looks like a miniature table statue and is what I wanted it for, but statues don't have flat backs with thingies on it. After some thinking however I decided I liked it so much I didn't mind that and it would still work great as a small statue. I'm all for as realistic as possible, but sometimes I don't mind to compromise, especially not with a piece this unique and special.

I have been thinking who this was made for: maybe a little Roman girl as a gift from her parents, or maybe from a guy to his girlfriend or a husband to his wife? Or just bought by a person needing a cloak pin ;) . And would she (I'm guessing it was a she, but maybe men liked and wore horses on their clothing too) have worn it daily or just on special occasions? And I can only guess it must have been someone with money or a metalworker who could make it himself? I just can't imagine ordinairy people could afford to have a shaped fibula if at all, but maybe they did? Not so familiar with Roman times, especially not those kind of details :D
The religious kind of object is a medieval pilgrim badge of tin from around the year 1500, that I think will make a great antique wallsculpture.

The dish is a 10-12th century Byzantine dish-coin that comes from a big treasurefind in Turkey acoording to the seller. This little piece started out as money, became useless and degraded as just being soilfiller for ages. To now becoming an item to be 'sold' in my miniature Oldtique Store, how cool is that? The story to go with that might be it was used in those times as a servingdish for regionally famous chickenhearts on Sundays by the rich and wealthy? I really don't know, my knowledge of the miniature upper class Byzantine foodserving habits is not that great, but sounds like a possibility, right?


Prehistoric

Then I've got even older stuff to put in the Oldtiquestore-to-be that I came across online while looking for the artefacts: fossils! Two that are 65-112 million years old, and another one about less than half that age, but still a whopping 35 million years old. The fun part: they were nicely cheap (less than a euro each, probably because they're so common and the light one not being in the best shape (as compared to other same kind of fossils, that are often a lot better preserved or nicer formed). The pink shell I added for colour, it's very small for such a nice kind I think.
The oldest fossils are ammonites. These are of a prehistoric squidspecies related to our present day squid, but with the shell on the outside. The species have gone extinct around the same time the dinosaurs did.
source image: Polihierax, DeviantArt
According to Wikipedia (Dutch), ammonites are found in various sizes, ranging from less than a centimeter up to 2,5 meters! (more than 8 feet) So a great item to display as a miniature, it will always be to scale (as long as you'll never want to use one of over 20 cm's (7,87 inches) ;)

The second kind is the fossilized tooth of a ray (flatfish). Which at first I thought I could use as a 1:12th scale dinosaurtooth or something. Figuring they could be different, like this one, from teeth we know. But the teeth I can find of dinosaurs online have no ridges like the raytooth has or the shape, so I'm not sure there would have been any dinosaur with teeth resembling this one (but it was a quick online search, not a study ;) ). So I decided it to be a fossil of undetermined origine, because I really like the shape, texture and colour!

So, that was a little bit of history for ya, like it or not.
But, if you got to here, you probably weren't too bored I guess :D

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Summertime fun: flip-flops (with tutorial & printable)

Hi again my dear followers. I appreciate you still visiting here and I'm also very happy with your kind, supporting and enthousiastic comments. Especially with very little happening here, they mean a lot!

Because of some new & old problems you wouldn't believe regarding my minilaptop (won't bore you with details), I decided to get a break from that for now, since it's getting a bit quite frustrating. And I don't mind difficulties at all, but at the moment there's also a bit much Murphy's law attached to it. Really wanted to 'just' finish it working on it whenever I'm able, but I'm not going to torture myself. I'll wait for Murphy to understand this mini-laptop is challenging enough without it's silly law adding to it! :D
a mini-beach to accomodate the flipflops, with a backdrop of a (printed) 'Zandvoort aan Zee', one of Hollands most famous beaches
And what's more fun than flip-flops? Well, a lot actually, but they do make a fun sound don't you think? I have had these in 1:1 for many years now, still like them a lot and as with many things we like in the real world, I wanted to miniaturize them. Unfortunately without the studs that are on the real ones and what I really like a lot about them. But I couldn't  do that without ruining the straps and I like them without too.
With the 100-dollar-bill beachtowel*, a backdrop of one of Holland's well known beaches and some fine sand**, it's easy to picture myself there. Enjoying the sun & the sound of the waves, flip-flops tossed aside. Until it's time to go home, all glowy & and a bit sun burned ;) One can dream right?
*as the footbed this is printed cottonsheet - available in a lot of online shops, just google for 'photofabric webshop')
**the fine sand is way too big to be in scale though, but hey, you can't have everything ;) 
you can see here that the straps of the left one are more generous than the left one (which I made first) and strangely enough the right one looks smaller alltogether, but is not.., the footbeds are exactly the same size.
 
And for anyone wanting to make a pair themselves: I made photo's along the way for a tutorial. And below you can also find my printables for the footbed in different colours to choose from. Because I'm well aware not everyone's a fan of everything/most things black(ish), haha, so you're not stuck to my gloomy taste in colour :P. Just use a matching or other yarncolour and ribbon/fabric for the straps. If you'd like another (general-ish or pastel) colour footbed, please let me know in a comment and I will add it here (always bare in mind the differences in screencolours though).
The printables are in the right scale, but to be sure you have the right scale for printing after opening it in the programme your using, the height of the slippers should be 2,21 cm (approx. 0,9 or 29/32 inch). I must warn you, the printing on the fabric looses a lot of the detail unfortunately..

The image is 1200 dpi, so that's not it, but the fabric just can't pick up that much detail for such a small print. I do recommend using best quality or higher dpi printing if available for the best results.












Have fun! If not making these (or other) flipflops, then enjoying the rest of the summer in whatever way you can.

Friday, August 15, 2014

tutorial real writing pencil

Hi y'all, just like to mention a tutorial that has been in my Tutorial, Tips & Trics II section since February and maybe you like. And maybe gives you a nice reason to go into the summery outdoors to find the key-ingredient if you like having a goal. Or you might find it in an old stash of dried flowers like I did. Anyway, if you like it, enjoy making it!

You need:
- a thin dried stem (mine is slightly less then 1 mm thick), like the dried flower in the photo, but nature has more thin hollow stems
 - a pencil lead from a penlike pencil you normally 'feed' those to write
- a hobbyfile like mine, an emoryboard, or a piece of sandpaper stuck to something flat
- paint if you like (spraypaint works best) and then also doublesided tape to hold the pencil up

Then:
1) gently file the lead by rolling over it with the file or sandpaper, until it's thin enough to fit the hollow inside of your stem.
2) And very gently put it in the stem. If it doesn't go further, don't push, you might need to file a bit more as I had to in the left-down picture. It does break sometimes, then you can make a smaller pencil from that, a 'used' one. It can be loose a bit and the lead can shift inside the pencil, then you can put a tiny bit of superglue to the lead on the side it comes out and push it in. That way it should stay put.
3) If you want you can paint now, put it with the back on a piece of doublesided tape and (spray)paint.
4) After drying you can file/sand the point and the back till they look like the real deal.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A journey of a thousand miles...

... begins with a single step - Lao Tzu, Chinese Philosopher, 604 - 531 bc

Well, a thousand miles this is, my ever so challenging mini-laptop, I've been able to work on a bit the past few weeks! Meaning that I could finally proceed on the lighting again. In my head I've known for months what to do, but in ones head connections don't come loose all the time and once connected lights don't stay dark for unclear reasons either :).

In the real world they apparently do, with these tiny lights and ridiculously thin wiring anyway ;) [and my lack of experience in this department probably didn't help either]. I was thrilled that I was able to reconnect one of those leds to the wire again since I could't order any new ones and had a few laying around loosened form their wires and wanted to use those. And I not only managed to rewire it: it actually worked!

You see, I wasn't at all sure that that was possible, or that I could, because I have next to no experience in soldering and only have a regular solderingtip and not a special micro one that you would actually need for this kind of work. Also because the led is so small (about as big than the 'sand'/crumbs in your eyes when you wake up ;) the heat of the iron melts away that connection, so had to figure something for that too, but this makes the soldering even harder..
But it appearantly was possible, yay! But despite the soldering connections being pretty strong, surprisingly so, I had to reconnect them often because handling them they did come loose at some point, just being too delicate. And needed to solder again and again the times I could work on them, the same connections that is....

And then I finally had two together, and they didn't light up! Both of them worked, but not when tested at the same time. Later - because I kept thinking why and the connection between them had to be fine - I finally thought it might be the 3V coincell that is easy for testing. That should be fine using for 10 leds on one coincell, but that's in parallel, maybe not the series I was having my lights in. Had no idea if that would (or could) matter, knowing practically nothing about electronics (I also had to look this up, the parallel and series thing, had no idea what that was or how to call it, just knew there was a difference). But when using my 12 volts transformator, it appears that had been it, because now they lit up both! But the connection came loose again, because of having to handle them to be able to test it, no matter how careful I was. Arrghh!
Why even bother with al this right? Well, it's simple: I really want to do this. And kind of like the challenge and overcoming all the hurdles and bumps it brings (wouldn't mind skipping them or at least part of them, but they do make me móre determined, not less). And I am sure I'll get it someday, because I know it is (or should be) possible and I will succeed! Hopefully befóre I'm an ancient relic, haha!

And to show you at least something: here's the little box (can't figure out the english word for it, freely translated from Dutch it would be 'feeder') with its blue light. I haven't shown that before, although that has been ready for ages (the box I did show once, but not lit I mean). Because I wanted to show it all at once, lit laptop, the blue light, all of it. But because that is going to take a while, here it is.