Wednesday, November 25, 2015

one time handcream in 99 seconds

do you like video's of working miniatures? I have one for you of the handcreamtube I once made (here's the original post). The reason I called it 'one-time-handcream' was because when you would use it on your big humanhands, the amount in the tube would just be enough for one time only :).

although it's nothing spectacular (or new in regard to the miniature, already 3 years old), I think it's fun. I hope you like it too.


PS: for no apparant reason Blogger decided to publish a few concept posts I start writing whenever I can or have an idea for something I like to make in the near or further future. That they got published was not intentional and without my knowledge and I put them back to concept as quickly as I could when I saw what happened. But everyone who is getting my new posts by mail (I guess) thinks there should be posts where there aren't. Thanks Blogger, for being totally erratic! :D

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Lacey Lace

I'm not a very lace-y person, although I like it sometimes, but in miniature: I just LOVE it! And what's an antique store without at least some lace, right? However, lace that can be used for miniature is hard to find. And for as far as I know there aren't any miniaturists that sell handmade lacework. Even if there would be, it would be quite expensive, since lacemaking is meticulous and takes a LOT of time! There's also just so much that can be replicated realistically.

I do have some lovely lasered paper lace from 2012 (see 2 photo's on bottom of this post) I'm very happy with, but thanks to Catherine (thanks!) I became aware of some awesome miniature lasered cotton lace by Jean Day. Those got me really excited!

Don't you love what modern times bring us miniaturists? Like decals, 3D-printing, lasered anything; I'm a big fan of modern day inventions. I'm sure they would have loved this mini-lace in the 17th and 18th century for their dollhouses! Luckily - for many more reasons than this, haha - I live in the 21st.

Also my birthday was coming up not too long ago and so I knew what I was gonna ask! (and was lucky enough to get too! :D ). But some - like the 2 tablecloths, the antique colar & cuffs - I will use in a different way than they're meant for, I'm curious to if and how that will turn out! The gloves I chose will resemble knitted ones. I guess they'll be the shop-owners' or something :D.

The detail is just AMAZING, I'm pretty sure it would be impossible to replicate any other way (and even if it could, it'd most likely cost a fortune) and the fabric is so thin! It's very fragile obviously as the weave of the cotton is cut everwhere the laser has been, as apposed to being held together like normal lace would. However you can shape it if you follow directions given and it's ideal for display. Just looking at these beauties makes me very happy! :D

This brought me in the lace-mood, so I also used some birthdaymoney to order some beautiful French cotton lace from Art of Mini. That they explain on their website is being woven on an original French lace-weaving machine from 1870 (!!). For as long as that machine will be able to work, because they say that when it stops working it can't be repaired... :(. It doesn't make the lace itself antique of course, but it does make it special I think.

Besides the one in the right corner (photo above) (that's quite stiff and thicker and most likely didn't come from that 19th century lace-weaving machine) their lace is thin and supple. I think they're beautiful and I was pleasantly surprised by them! Especially the one on the right below is unbelievably thin and soft!

And to complete this lace-post, let's show you what I ordered in 2012 when Art of Mini temporarily sold laser paper lace, as I mentioned in the beginning. Unfortunately not anymore, so I'm extra happy with the ones I got back then! update: thanks to Kat (thanks!) here's a link for where paper lace doilies and lace is still sold online. I haven't seen all pages (they have a lot of this!), but I've seen several already that I have too, so you can still have these and a bunch of other types! For 1:12, 1:24 and 1:48 scale. Here's the link (it's page 2 of the doilies-section. Because it starts with lace curtains which I find confusing, so you can go back one page and scroll down to see the ones there too), it's almost 8 pages of laser paper bliss I think :D.

I think the detail on the right one is amazing!

*of course there are miniaturists that make miniature lace and have done some great and amazing stuff! Deborah for example, because she can do just about anything :D ! And yes, that's miniature! And something else she did, a small tablecloth that's just slightly over an inch big - or should I say small? ;) Also Annelies has done some great work. Just 2 examples of lacemaking miniaturists I know is out there, which will be much more!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

the status of a mini-laptop ;)

nope, didn't forget about, or gave up on it. Are you kidding me? I love this project, albeit a nervewrecking one ;).

I recently realized I've never made a setup with the laptopparts so far, which are the parts that have been ready for a few years now, but so here it is. And although it's all loose and (especially the bottompart) needs some important things besides glueing it all together, it gives a nice idea. Of course this is the off-view, the laptop will have a normal screen that you've seen before for when it's lit. This is an insert for a dark screen, we have to keep it realistic right? :D

I was so thrilled that a few months ago I finally got a chance to once again tackle one of the most difficult parts: the screenlight. Yes, still that ;). This time I try to make a customized backlight, which is solution/option #6, I think. To get the screen lit realistically and I really hope this is the 'system' that will work and I'll get it to work! But knowing myself a little bit: I probably won't give up until I do! :D

And at that time I did succeed in what was needed at this point: I was SO happy, 'cause although you can't tell: that was no breeze! Not because of what needed to be done in itself, but simply because of the delicacy of the leds & wiringconnections. The connections of the micro-leds I need to use (think the size of the crumbs in your eyes when you wake up), are so extremely fragile that the wires loosen very very easy from the leds and it's almost impossible to do anything that I need to do without that happening. But phew, got it! I planned to show this progress when getting it as far for it to be installed, but as that might take a while, I just show this already.

I'm not out of the woods yet, but this part was an essential start and the first difficult hurdle I've passed in this new screenlightingsystem, woehoe! For almost all the steps in this mini-laptop goes that they don't take a lot of time in itself, but are mostly 'just' a bit difficult to do and/or to get right or without accidentally messing up a part.

UPDATE: thanks to Troy I realize it may be nice for you to know where I got these tiny leds. They're from Modeltrain Software. And the ones I used are the pico (you have chip, nano and pico, pico being the very smallest smd-led they have). They have lot's more led types next to the smd-type ones, the regular ones (5mm, 3mm, 1,8mm), also flashing ones and switches etc. The smd/chip-leds, that include the nano and pico, are all wired already. It's worth to take a look.

Next step is to get this finished further, hoping that the way I'm making the backlight will do what an actual one does... they have a special layer, deviding the light, that I hope my substitute resembles enought to work in that way (since an actual backlight is way too thick and big to be able to use). Then to connect the light to the rest of the wiring (that I have to fix first... sigh, see text at photo's at the top) and actually installing it in the parts of the screen.

So I thought I'd do a little update now on that mini-laptop, for anyone wondering if that's still on my radar and/or to-do-list: yup, it absolutely IS! :D.

I'm eager to be able to take the next step(s), hopefully soon!

Friday, October 23, 2015

about inspiration, creativity & tips, PART II of VII

Welcome at the second part of this series of seven in total (that's what I counted including the first two when deviding what was left after this). Can you imagine that all those 7 parts were originally just one post? And you'll understand why I had to devide it into parts, each of them still being very long :D.
If you missed it, you can go to PART I by clicking the link and the first and second part will also be in a tab 'Inspiration' I added above. All 7 parts will be there in time for easy finding.

So this is where I hope things get a bit inspirational ;). This part is mostly for anyone of you who can feel insecure about your abilities and/or creative side, something I've read numerous times on different blogs. Hopefully my view on a few things can make those of you feel more confident. In following parts I will give tips on how to improve things if that's what you feel you need or would like.

First of all I'd like to say that I think everyone is always more creative than they usually think. Focussing on what they think they should be able to, they don't realise how creative they are in other ways. I've seen that often. Please see your strengths, everyone has them and they're always there, trust me.

'All' you maybe have to do is see what others see, but you somehow overlook. For example by accentuating your negatives, your insecurities or whatever. Try to turn that around if that's what you do. What do you like about your work, your ideas? Where is your strength and what always makes you feel proud and enthousiastic? Or what do others comment on about your work or have complimented you with, whatever it was? Also even a strength totally unrelated can help you with miniatures and creating.

example: in The Netherlands we have the tradition of Sinterklaas, the saint Santa Claus is derived from. In our family - as in many Dutch families - for his birthday on the 5th of December we always made 'a surprise', for one of the others. A crafted something resembling a part or a situation regarding the person you make it for, accompanied by a poem and (a) present(s).

My mother was always quite apologetic about her surprises, while I always thought they were clever and fun!

She saw the lack of crafting skill,
I saw the great or fun idea and how smart (creatively) she achieved the result

even more so because she had to do it without the crafting or with little of it. I may have been the crafter in the family, but every single one of my familymembers have always had great ideas and things they were very strong at, making them creative. Being the idea itself, something that made it (un)intentionally very funny and/or a great poem or something else. Each of their work unmistakingly theirs at the same time.

It makes sense too, because despite the most common association,
creativity is of course about so much more than crafting!
And crafting has so many more aspects of creativity than usually thought as well

Also important to take from this I think: don't compare with others, look at (or feel) what makes you YOU. What makes you unique, try to see - and focus on - your strengths. And to be clear: I DON'T mean with this you have to give up something you like to do but aren't very good at (yet). Not at all. Always keep doing what you love to do, no matter what. And in addition to that: I've often focussed on what I was NOT so good at, YET! Not by focussing on THAT or WHY it wasn't good, but by getting better at it using my strengths!

I think all kinds of strengths in the end with most of us are even more important than talent! As you've also seen in PART I with my first attempts at miniatures ;). I think it's always about finding a way to use your strengths to do what you like to do, ulizing them to get better at what you like so much! And strengths that are related to miniatures can be anything too, like ideas for miniatures, designs, the use of materials, the use of style, the use of stories, the use of humor, an eye for staging or scenes, imagination, being good with certain materials, like wood, or fimo, or whatever of maybe with certain tools, etc, etc.

In addition I think it's important to realize that when it comes to what we want and like to be able to achieve - in miniatures or otherwise - I know not everything is always possible for any of us. No matter how much we want it to be or how hard we try.

so don't (ever) feel bad about that!

This can be for whatever reason, like (lack of) finances for certain materials or tools, time/RL, fysical limitations, lack of certain innate skills etc. Something we'll have to accept even if we don't like it and focus on what we can do. Or if possible, finding ways to work around them! I will however never say the kind of popular 'anything is possible if you just really want to'.

I think that's a way too simplistic view of life and it actually suggests that everything you can't achieve has to be your fault, even when it truly isn't

Like a man who really really wants to be pregnant and deliver a baby and would do anything for it. Which is a bit of an obvious kind of an example and maybe a silly one (where I can think of countless ones that are more common), but because of it's obviousness, it illustrates my point best I think.

I AM a firm believer however of possibilities

To illustrate how firmly I believe this and more importantly live by it in ways you could not possibly understand without this info: I am and have been bedridden for the bigger part of many years, not being able to take care of myself, not able to go outside, needing help with and for everything big and small, also to the bathroom or even getting in my wheelchair or in bed, dressing, drinks, food, etc, sometimes even needed to be fed. Brushing my teeth is a luxury I rarely have and having a shower has not been a day-to-day thing at all for all those years (not even with help) and I haven't even been able to be showered at all anymore by caretakes for fifteen months now. All that's possible (and not always even that) is a bath once a week with the help of my mother, who also washes my hair etc and once a week being washed in bed by a caretaker.

Almost all of my days are about the absolute bare basics: managing to eat 3 times a day (using clever ways and just heating up (pre-cooked by family)-meals) and being able to get in my electric wheelchair to get to the bathroom all day long and back in my bed. That's it, being a great challenge as it is often enough or not even possible. Going outside is a rarity and at those rare days a few times a year, for just a 'moment', that's it. Having visitors or contact with my family and loved ones is not as rare as going outside, but still very little possible. Because talking requires too much strength (and sometimes I can't even talk at all and the more I talk, the more often and longer that is the case and also makes me very sick) and energy and causes for unbelievable problems on many levels. No matter how much I would love to, like everything else in life.

And the list goes on, it's very hard to believe how I've had to live for so long now and even with this info you cannot imagine what else I have to do without, that is part of the most basic things in life. Especially when looking at this blog, which makes me immensly proud. The very very few (not even most loved ones) that know are quite shocked by it. I needed to describe my livingsituation a little bit for you to understand how it's been the looking at - and believing in - possibilities, where there seem to be none, that I've been able to do anything the past years.

And most weeks/months absolutely nothing at all despite that believe and always looking at ways, as I'm just too sick and just surviving. But even then: every moment I'm not too sick for it, I'm still thinking miniatures and thinking up ideas and work things out in my head!! Where I can tackle quite some problems I don't have to for real when I finally get to make it. And when I can do a little something - as you may understand - it's something that requires clever thinking, clever ways and mostly just very little and sometimes ridiculously small steps at a time. Like just cutting a small part on one day, another part the next day or a few days later, glueing something days or weeks later etc. Or if nothing of that type, then writing on a blogpost. Most often way ahead of something being ready, sometimes even years. But if it's something I can do, than I enjoy it, and every little thing towards something is a step closer to an overal result right?

All this makes the choice for what to make very limited as well, and is almost never a real choice, but simply choosing the tiny and certain kind of opportunity there IS as opposed to nothing at all. Because that's more important to me than choice between two or more, simply because I don't have that luxury. Some periods it can be a bit more and a few even more rare periods the past few years from experimental treatments has made things go a bit faster than usual and at those times I've even been able to do a few things that I really wanted to do (like the entrance and the alarmclock for example).

but litterally every tiny step I take in miniatures,
it's by always looking at possibilities, even at times
there's (finally) just an almost negligible one and use it

Furthermore it's determination and the love for LIFE & miniatures, focussing on what makes me happy, that I've done what I've done. You have no idea - and couldn't have, not even with the above (and still very limited) info - how unbelievable that fact is and by using several not obvious ways and decisions to even ever create at all.

Didn't want to add all that, but reluctantly decided to do so, because maybe this adds a little weight to what I'm saying about believing in possibilities. I believe that anyone - yes you too ;) - can do more, and sometimes much more, than they - usually - think or might be obvious. They just often overlook what they're very good at due to focussing on parts they feel they 'fail'. Or don't always know how to or where that ability is tucked away or how to get to it. Which I can hopefully help with a little bit with these series. And too many people are also - unrightfully so and sadly - led to believe by others they can't - or shouldn't - do certain things. Or for whatever reason have convinced themselves. There's NO reason, besides maybe practical ones, anyone shouldn't enjoy a hobby or be creative! Don't ever let anyone tell you can't or shouldn't!

I've told some loved ones in the past otherwise, where they truly believed they couldn't do something. And with some persuasion to try, support and advise, I was proven right and the person in question very proud of themselves. Maybe I can do the same for anyone who can use it by writing all this.

I think it's important to say that I think what you do and 'should' do is - obviously - very much about choices, preferences and what's important to you. Since, as with so many things in life, it's kind of personal ;). What makes one person happy might not mean anything to someone else.

It's not about results persé either, to me it's just as much about the process:

doing what we like to do, gives mental energy,
makes us feel alive and what suits us best

Whatever that is. And as a result being happy and proud of the result! Even if that result isn't always what you hoped for, it's still always a steppingstone to something else. A part of your development leading to better results and growing in your skills.

Creativity, as life, is about learning, evolving, making mistakes and sometimes looking back and frown upon or laugh about the first - or inbetween - wobbly steps we took. Like those when being a toddler and learning to walk, or later when learning how to read, riding a bike etc.

those wobbly first steps and mistakes (and many thereafter) 
were and are an essential part of anyones development.
you can't get anywhere without them

And have you ever seen any small child walk or run with stability for the first time and run a marathon soon after? Ever see someone get on a bike for the first time(s) and ride like they've never done anything else and cycle a Tour de France within weeks or months? I haven't heard of that :D. Not ever.

Sure, we have different startingpoints and develop in a different pace and in different ways, but not even the most talented people in this world go through life without the wobbliness. They too fail and start over, learn and grow and get better at what they do in the process.

I think it's much more about what someone does 
and decide they can, or at least try 

With or without innate talent for what it is they do, just because they want to. A certain result or learning a skill, whatever the reason. And always getting up after falling down. As us 'normal' folks have to do too ;). It makes us who we are.

and I know I tell nothing new here. 
but sometimes it's about remembering what we already know
and to apply it to something we forget it's part of too

And just in case it might help: one of my 'secrets' when it comes to miniatures* is I've never been 'intimidated' (can't find a better word) by great skills or achievements of others. And so they've never made me feel bad - or less - about my own. Something I've read a few times from others and I think is sad, because no one should feel less than someone else, ever. Now you can say there's no reason for me anyway because my results are fine, which may be true to a point, now. But believe me there was quite a long time I could very well have felt that way. Because my results weren't that great.

But I didn't. It wasn't important, I didn't even compare. What I did and do is what I do, what others do, is theirs. To me they had and have nothing to do with each other. I was just proud of what I did. Like the child who is so proud of his or her first unstable steps, even when falling down most of the time. And come to think of it: a child doesn't compare with an adult either, who walks - and even runs - without thought.

I did always admire other peoples work and still enjoy that greatly. And of course I can wish I can do something myself, but I don't think about it further and it certainly doesn't make me feel less about myself or what I do. I do use the level of other peoples skills to improve myself, get myself to a higher level. Of course, but I then just think of how I can do that.

and is it that someone has more possibilities that make that person think they can do better and therefore they achieve more?
OR is it believing they can, simply trying and therefore creating possibilities that make them able to achieve more?

Chicken or egg right? That's something to think about for ya ;)

That's nice Monique, all those words in another - very, VERY yawn :D - lengthy post, but is there anything we can take from this, as in concrete tips? Well yes my dear readers, and applause for you if you're still with me ;), I think there is. In part III I'll show some things that can hopefully help you in a way.

*I make the distinction because quite some years way befóre miniatures I was hesitant to start painting, not knowing I'd be any good at it. Still not because of comparing to others, but just felt I might not 'succeed' and had no idea how to start, what to do etc. I did start with it eventually because I thougt it was quite silly to not try it just because I might suck at it :D and not knowing what to do. And if I would suck, then I just have to try until I wouldn't anymore, haha! And I liked painting só much ánd I was good at it too, after having quite some difficulties figuring out what to do and how to get a result I wanted. Wanting to throw one of the first ones I did out of the window numerous times, but never did and just kept trying until I got a result I was incredibly proud of!

Like I had done several years before: I have always been good at drawing, but I 'sucked' at drawing faces. Yes they resembled a face, but not very good or realistic. So I decided to focus on that trying to get it right, and I did!