Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Comforting Mini's

First of all a very warm welcome to all of my new followers, so happy you decided to join!

In december I knew I was getting some money that was very welcome because of an upcoming move, but I decided to use some of it to order some miniatures. Because it has been and still is a very strange and difficult year (and if you would know what my life has looked like the past years, you would know that when I say difficult, that is quite the understatement). Where so much has happened, is still going on and hardly anything is the same and some things might never be again. But of course it also - like every situation does - brings new opportunities, chances and possibillities and I am very grateful for that. And good things are always there too and more will come, I just know it. But despite all good that can always be seen - no matter how difficult still - I really felt like treating myself to some beautiful and special miniatures I can use in my Oldtique Store. I felt I deserved that ;). From Ulus Miniatures no less and I wanted to share this with you. I received them today and I am SO thrilled about them: they are just as beautiful and perfect as I hoped (photo's online can be deceiving sometimes, but in this case were definately not).

The enormous detail José puts into them (and Luis, I don't know who does what, just that Ulus Miniatures is a joined venture), the quality of the finishing of the items, the realism, it is so great!
this drill comes with a thingy that you use to tighten or untighten the drillbit with (not working obviously)
this beautiful kitchenscale has real domed glass and a real hand as well (not working) which makes it so real. Also the metal is nice and heavy, like it should with a scale like this and with the right amount of aging
it opens and looks like a real one inside. The material is so wonderful, heavy and with a beautiful slightly aged finish, I just love it!
the opener is unbelievably detailed for such a small object.. I cannot believe how well done this is, it is just perfect!
and not just one side that's just right, it's complete in every way..
By the way: I am very sorry I hardly have the chance to look at all your great work, I'm just seeing some every now and then, but just know I haven't forgotten about you and catch up as soon as I can, because I always very much enjoy to see what you all do. Take care!

Monday, February 10, 2014

du main, du fin, du Mannequin

The title probably makes no sense to you (or at all and translates horribly), but I thought it to be a nice twist to a phrase of a Dutch commercial for french cheese, which is 'du pain, du vin, du Paturain'.
Anyway ;) : do you know the McQueenie Miniature kits? I just love them!
They make and sell high quality kits (and finished products) of period furniture and I once ordered their mannequin kit at a Dutch webshop, since I really thought the Oldtique Store to be should have one. Later in some other webshop I found another mannequin of them, similar but with a different bust and I thought: why not have twó mannequins for my Oldtique Store? So I got that one too. The kit is supereasy, just glue the thing together and sand to get rounded edges on the feet. It would have been a 5 minute job, mostly because of the sanding.

But, I can't help myself always thinking of something that I want to add or change and these mannequins (lovely and perfect as they are on their own) were no exception.
I really wanted them with fabric, which is a bit tricky due to the shape. Starting with the first the summer of 2012 it took a while, but I finally got to do the finishing touches they needed.
I changed the look of the the kitparts of the second one a bit so they wouldn't be complétely identical, besides the different finishing of the fabric. The text of the light one is the name of the French fashionhouse Lanvin, the eldest in the world. Thought that'd be a nice touch. On the back I decided to put 'la couture de Jeanne', Jeanne being Lanvin's founder.
it makes more sense photographing it with the text to the light, but then you can hardly see it
The saucers on the 'arms' of both were a neccessity because of the fabric and being able to finish it neatly. But a lovely one I think and something you see often on reallife mannequins too. I made the saucers with milliput.
I forgot to make a picture of the tiny nappy pin I used to attach the pricetag. It's a lasercut one from the Dollhouse Mall and actually goes through the fabric of the mannequin
I'm so thrilled about them, especially how the darker one turned out (oh, I would love to have one of those in real life!), it's what I had in mind for it.

Friday, January 10, 2014

a challenge is a challenge is a challenge...

My mother, boyfriend and some others have shaken their heads more than once laughing and think I'm crazy to want to make something in a way that makes it way too difficult or seems impossible.
Well, I think that sometimes too ;) And yesterday was one of those times.

Not even doing anything with wiring itself I got myself another laptop wiring challenge yesterday. This time with the plugback I added to the plugbase with milliput. When I was filing it, I handled the delicate wires too much keeping them out of the way. As soon as I realized that, one had already weakened too much and fell of, right at the point it goes into the plug...
I didn't even curse or anything, just sat looking at it, this was a bit of a problem. The plug was ready except for some final filing, attached to the wire and I could not transfer to another wire. Not to mention what's attached to it - the result of all kinds of non visible challenges and several failed attempts facing them in many small steps over a long period of time - all glued together & that finally will 'plug' (permanently) into the laptop.So okay..., that kind of sucks, now what?
First of all I secured the other wire by giving it a coat of glue hoping the copperwire inside was still intact. And got my microscope and try to fix the other. The use of a microscope while doing something with the subject on it is a challenge in itself. But, had to try since I could hardly see what I was doing even with my trusted magnifying glasses (magnifies 3,5 times which for a lot of things is sufficient, but not for the really small stuff).
it looks professional doesn't it, a microscope? I thought it would be very expensive to have one, but needed it to be able to cut the ridiculously small logo's for the laptop. I found it at a toywebshop for a very nice price! It's a binocular one (so you can look with two eyes, instead of one as with most microscopes), one that's used by watchmakers and seemed the best choice.
First option, glue: wire end in the tiny bit of room in the plug, and get it against the small piece of exposed wire where it broke of and a bit of glue. Not ideal as a solution or a solid connection, but I don't solder, especially not something so small. But it was so tiny that I couldn't get it right and couldn't be sure enough the wires touched each other with the movement of them while glueing. So, on to....
...option two, (micro)soldering: I have had a small and simple solderingtool for a couple of years now, but only once used it to try it out, which was no succes. I know practice would solve that, but never had the chance. And that had been for something small, noway near as tiny as what I needed to do now...

Yet I knew it would be the only serious option. So I did and when looking for the solder I knew I had, I stumbled upon very thin solder that I must have ordered once too that was ideal for this job. Long story short: solderingtool doesn't match microscope, haha, the heat of the tool darkens the glasses instantly.

So back to my beloved magnifying glasses. Besides hardly seeing what I was doing despite them, the solder kept sticking to my tool instead of the plug and the wire kept falling out again and again and some more. Breath in, breath out, take breaks, try again, again and again. Not going well.

Then I remembered I have stuff that should make soldering easier. Blue flux it's sometimes called, what I have is 'soldering helper' from Aber that the superthin solder is from too and wow, it really helped! It took a while to get the wire into the tiny hole again and more important to have it stay there, but when I got it the soldering it actually went surprisingly well after a couple of tries! It was attached again, sigh of relief! But then I decided to give it a tiny bit more solder to be sure it would be enough, and that of course melted the other solder breaking the connection again... Rookymistake I guess. Once I got the wire in again it wasn't even too long, thanks to the solder helper and it felt pretty strong too (for such a tiny connection). I was so happy but the important thing was....

.....would it have worked? So testing the lights, but didn't work, but wasn't sure if it was in that part or the problem I still had with the rest. Seperately testing reveiled that it díd work!! I did it! I still can't believe I managed to do it! Now just needed to glue the wires to the socket to prevent any more accidents with that part, instead of keeping them seperable that had been the plan. But that dicision was as easy to make as it was to do.
Woohoo, another step closer to the finishline!

And for those of you that wondered or have asked: I have no electrical skills at all besides knowing how to attach wire to a dollhouseplug. Didn't know or understood about current, ampères, volts etc, how to wire something. Still don't actually ;) But I'm not scared of a challenge or maybe it's more that I can be a bit stubborn when I have something in my head that I think should be possible, or I want it to be possible (which is what made or makes something possible I guess).

Of course I'm very lucky to have a boyfriend who has a background in electronics I could ask for help, that I could not have done without. Starting with my minilaptop and whenever needed he has been so sweet to explain, look up and reading and calculating explainations that to me might as well have been written in Chinese. After some laughing on his part he patiently explained about resistors after I blew up the first 1,5 volts light I wanted to use for my minilaptop connecting it straight to a battery, not bothered by any knowledge of their existence, haha.

He also showed me how to use and connect the lights together etc (this was not too difficult, just be consequent with your + and - and he showed how to tell with leds or bare wire). And the rest I learned of course by just doing and making mistakes. The learning kind but also by stupid things like holding the circuit down with my finger while testing, connecting the + and - and 'poef'! Expensive little buggers those lights, especially the tiny led's, but I guess it's all been learning money that will surely pay itself back in the pride of the endresult and a learningcurve that I can use in futureprojects. No pain no gain right?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

having fun with antiques

It's not how the Oldtique Store is going to look like actually, although I really like the atmosphere of it. So maybe I'll look if I can order more of this scrappaper I used for this setup instead of the wallpaper I have for the actual store... For now it's just to play around with some of the miniatures for the store I collected the past years, giving me an idea of where I'm going.
I hope to be able to have the construction of the store built this year, which my boyfriend will do for me. The mdf he's had cut to size has been sitting around for more than 3 years already, so it's about time! It just wasn't possible sooner and with the steps I added to the entrance making the store higher - but want to keep the backrooms streetlevel - so it also isn't as easy as simply putting it together.

My minilaptop keeps troubling me. Today I very carefully peeled away the tape that holds it to the base holding my breath not to damage them, or loosen the very fragile soldering the leds came with (happened too many times handeling them before, and then needing replacement because the leds are so tiny and therefore the soldering so specialistic and I wouldn't even think of trying that. So the lights become useless when that occurs) and reconnected the wires by twisting them firmly, as firmly as I could with a tweezer in their awkward positions (not possible to just put them aside to eachother and twist), although I thought I did.

But now - since it can't be in that connection anymore - it seems there's something wrong with it all together, sigh.... They light up, flicker a bit and then go out again. Sometimes it keeps flickering or lights up normally, but never for long (the testlight I always use to be sure it's the lights that don't work when nothing happens, that is connected to the same transformer on the side stays on, so it's not the current itself that's interrupted and I also checked the plug of the wires, they are also connected fine). But a few testrounds later (without having done anything about it, just switch on and of the lights a couple of times more) it suddenly stayed on... I wiggled the wires the screen is connected to, to see if it would hold and it did, lights work. Mmmmm... annoying! I can't figure out if there's something wrong with the wiring/lights or not? And if it's a good idea to just build the frame (closing it with milliput, not being able to access it ever again!). I already thought about at least working with it with the lights on, so I'll immidiately know when it might stop working. To prevent the surprise when nothing can't be done anymore.

It also made me think again about the solution Pepper gave me a while back, since I just want to move on with it, regardless the (high) cost of the tiny leds I've already had (and the ones blown up in the process..) and all the efforts that went into that part so far. But the connection/pins of that solution that are to be connected to the wiring look too big and long, regarding it's measurements (1,7"x3,75"= 4,25x9,4cm). I know I can adjust the light itself (by cutting to the right size and all but one 'plug' can go), but I mean the one plug itself.
My laptopscreen is very thin and the edge very narrow and there's hardly any room for anything. That's why the superthin (like a hair) wires from the leds are so great, fits perfectly. Mmmm... I'll let this simmer for a while, and of course I'll be asking my boyfriend if he can be of help again!