Saturday, October 3, 2015

makeover fridge

yes, yes, as mentioned in the preview of this recently, I'm só guilty of wandering off with this :D.

But it was guiltfree and great fun. Yesterday I could finally finish two things for this scene that had been ready for a while, but I hopelessly failed at that, haha. Won't be able for a while to do it the right way, so here it is without after all. You won't miss them and I'm so satisfied with the whole scene that I don't either :D.

I have no clue why, but some months ago I suddenly remembered I still had some test-pieces of different stainless steel contactpaper meant for a second hand 1:1 fridge once. And thought it might be great to use for this mini-fridge that I ordered a few years back for the Oldtique Store. And I just hád to see if it would work :D. The first one I tried that made the most sense, was too bright or something. It just didn't work for me, so off it went. But the second one was perfect!

Installing a light was inspired by Josje, who had done that in her mini-fridge and I thought was a great idea. It was also surprisingly easy to do and it already had a nice compartment for it.

Later I made the top and bottom black, and some additional changes like putting in 'glass' shelves* I gave a silver rim (ultra bright chrome bare metal foil that sticks on it's own, but you could also glue on some aluminum foil) as I did with the vegetable drawers and doorshelves inspired by my RL-fridge and made a new door handle (that broke in a couple of places putting it in the slot that I had cut for the handle it came with, but later decided it was to bulky, which is why I made this one. That's why it's not the neatest job, but still like it!).

All to bring the nice classic fridge but with some bulky details, to a more realistic modern one.
*easily cut with scissors from a sheet of 0.5mm thick acrylic or something, any clear standard thin (but not too thin) hobbysheet can be used

let's taste a bit of that delicious yoghurt with jam/marmalade :D
And I printed some nice flooring, a wall and vertical planks for a quick and instant scene. It was much fun gathering the other stuff for this scene, things I collected over the years, but never had been able to use in a scene before. The dishcloth is one I printed years ago after one of my mother's and just needed being fixed like it was hanging as natural as I could get it.

The cartons are all templates found with Google (searched for templates of milkcartons and/or cartons). And you shouldn't look too closely at the cans, they're just props so I kept it simple and quick (they also don't have bottoms ;), luckily the labels (decals) make them quite convincing). As is the lettuce in the drawer, that's just 3 printed of the same lettuces found online and glued to a little ball of aluminum foil in a piece of plastic wrap.

The margarine was a little less quick, is not varnished yet and painting the rim is not very good/smooth (trust me, it's worse than the photo's indicate), but my hand was shaking like a leaf in the wind again. But it's still a nice little prop :), a big thanks for the inventor of decals!

The orange-juice in the glass bottle is actually that, the yoghurt in the bowl is real, the jam/marmelade in the smaller bowl too. Where props in photoshoots are usually fake for ease and convenience, mine are most often real for the exact same reason :D.

For anyone who would like to have a fridge like this and order it to give it a similar or different make-over, the info I can give is the following (the brand also carries a washingmachine and dishwasher both with sound (which I think is great fun), a microwave (with opening door) and stove, that I don't have myself but will probably open too?):
  • the webshop I ordered it is Worldkids
  • for all of you abroad, you might want to find a webshop that ships to your country (Worldkids does ship internationally by the way so you could use that*, but it's not a Dutch miniature, so regarding postage it might be useful/cheaper to find a webshop in your country): it's a Miele refridgerator and in the webshop I ordered it, it was called: Klein 7816 Miele mini koelkast (last word is refridgerator). I don't know if that number is from the manufacturer or the webshop though. But you can try it, maybe with it find it online in webshops in different country's. *don't see any restrictions on country's but doesn't necessarily mean there isn't any
  • on the bottom it says: manufactured for Theo Klein in HonKong and is from the collection 'Klein' (which I think is funny, because it's his name, but also the German and Dutch word for 'small')

Friday, September 25, 2015

about inspiration, creativity & tips, PART I

NOTE: Because it had gotten so ridiculously long, but almost entirely finished for a while now, I've decided to break it up in parts. For clearity and to prevent insanity and/or being overwhelmed on your side :D. So today, part I. Not really inspirational yet, but an important introduction I think. And might be a bit inspirational in a way? In any case it's long enough already ;)

I've been writing a different kind of post, adding to it from time to time and digging up old photo's or made new photo's of stuff I've made in the past to support this looooonng post ;). I realise it totally depends on where you are miniature-/craftwise, what's important or helpful to you, etc, if this post is useful at all. But it's for anyone who might be happy with some advice from yours truly and can benefit from it.

I felt like it because of things I've read in comments or blogposts, about inspiration and creativity and such and I might be able to help with a bit. At least I hope so. Not because I know everything, far from it, but I know a little bit of something that might help some of you sweet readers and followers out there.

So, here it goes.. my view on a few things. It may be different for other miniaturists who were great and/or amazing from the start, but I wasn't born making realistic miniatures like my recent mini-books, mini handcremetubes with handcream being able to squeeze out or mini-alarmclocks. Just so you know ;).

I'd like to show you that I'm not just saying things, some pictures of where I came from. What I did in the beginning and didn't have the best idea about scale, materials etc. Something that I still develop of course, although it has much approved over time. Nothing wrong with what I did, I liked it a lot and was (mostly) very proud of every one of them. They've also been important and even essential for my development. But the point I want to make is that it's a quite different from what I have done later.

my first book. Way too big/out of scale even for the bigger book it was meant to be, pages very thick which was already thicker than normal paper and are also glued together etc.

You can see with the miniaturemagazines and the two recent books how big it is. And in the last image of the 3 below you can see the pages don't even line up (this is as straight I could hold them down), iiieeeee! Was I making this with my eyes closed? hahaha :D

And here's a nice mistake I made with a bookkit around that time by Ann Vanture from, glueing the pages in the cover upside down! But because you glue it to the front and backcover too, there's no way I could remove without tearing the whole thing to shreds, so I had to leave it like that.. I also made the same mistake with Animal Farm, only not upside down (because I was paying very close attention to that because of that previous stupidity), but the outside of the pages to the spine! Don't ask me how that happened! But luckily that book doesn't have flyleafs, so removing it was possible, although I still had to get all the glue from the pages.. :D

The second time I had an idea for a book was much later a couple of years ago and it was so much better! It is printed on both sides and even glued the right side up ;). This is large too, but as it should be being a big book for witchcraft, it's to scale this time ;). I still like this a lot!

And of course the books that I made earlier this year, so you can see (or anyone who had not seen the bookpost of these yet) what a contrast to that first one!

The second attempt to make a catcarrier as the first doesn't even resemble one haha (see that one in the photo below this one). Although it's a fine carrier and will carry minicats as it should, it's not too realistic I'm afraid, but I did enjoy it and was so proud of it! And still am.

The 3rd one I didn't finish because - from what I remember, it's been a couple of years that I made it - there was no way I could proceed with the weaving. Because of the - at that point - very inflexible metal wire (too thick as I just realised when seeing it again for this post). This falls in the category of seeing layers and they can have blind spots, as I will explain in later 'editions' of this series, it's one of the tips.

Different use for 'failed' items
Seeing the first cat carrier some time later it reminded me it looks like some kind of planter! Not sure if it's right for that proportionally, but for this post I finally tested that by putting some greens (it's fresh mint that bloomed!) in it and put it on a wall. Not too bad huh? :) It's still not the most realistic object/scale maybe and I would like to treat it sometime to make it more realistic, like a dark wash that will get in the crevices and/or maybe some dry white (or white-ish) paint to give it a more modern look. But at least it won't be useless, yay!

A small TIP to take away from this: if you have something that is not right for what you made it to be, it might be useful as something else? Like a mug that turned out too big, can maybe be a vase or plantpot. To give an example I can now think of and you might have thought of yourself and done that already, but there are probably countless! And some 'failed' items can be used for attics or trashcans etc.

And how about bad photography in the photo below? the basket* isn't even in focus :D haha. And this is not one of more photo's where this is the bad one, this is the photo I decided to keep! I don't know if I still have this basket somewhere, I'm curious to how it looks!
*from raffia with licorice-sticks as woodblocks

don't worry, I do like the first basket, but it's quite different from my second one that I made the year after. The basket itself is not even bad, it looks just fine.  I do still need to fnish it though with some washes or so to give it some more shades of colour. It's mostly the glued-on rim on the top that makes it quite unrealistic and not my best work, but it's how I started, it's my first regular basket** after all ;). It's in my christmaslantern.
**technically this was the raffia one I had forgotten all about until I stumbled on that photo for this post!

so this is a great example of me not using the right materials for realistic miniatures in my early days. I was over the moon with them at the time, I even ordered a lot more of the same beads and beadcaps to be able to make more! And they are are nice maybe, but not very realistic. I might have an idea what to do with them to be able to use them and benefit from the ornamental detail... I'll have to see if that works and if so I will someday post that as a tip.

So there you have it! My first (baby)steps in this fun hobby.

I got where I am - and still have masses to learn - by learning from mistakes. Obviously, as that's what we all do in life and will be no surprise. Also by seeing more clearly (or at all, haha, if you look at the crooked pages of that first book). And by looking at things differently over time and changing previous aspects to achieve better results in new miniatures. For whatever reason or because I suddenly realise what will work better. It's a natural process. I've also learned from others, using their tips. And developed my own, as well as ideas that I came up with.

With mistakes I also mean all the dumb things from blowing up lights because of next to zero electrical knowledge, supergluing my fingers to a miniature or each other on more occassions than one, glueing pages the wrong way around in a bookcover, working on something only to realise I've overlooked a very important and kind of obvious part etc. Haven't we all? Well maybe not all, but I know I'm certainly not the only one!

Nothing human is strange to me :D and I can assure you: very human this one, haha. 

See you at part II !

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

calm before the storm

hi dear mini-friends from all over the world ;) One of my caretakers was quite impressed with having followers all over the world, but I explained this sounds more special than it is. Just being a logical consequence of being online AND miniatures being a small world as it is. Making it a 'big-world'-thing because of it!

Not being able to proceed on other things, I started two simple/doable but nice things shortly after the books, which were almost ready to show not too long after. But a bit much Ripley's-believe-it-or-not (unnecessary and beyond my control) in RL got in the way of things again, so they too have been lying still altogether for a while now.

So for the time being I thought it'd be nice to give a heads-up of what's coming. Like some posts I was able to write on from time to time and I will post in the hopefully near future. And I can show you how far I got with the new piece before things went haywire, as well as a sneak peak of 2 little scenes. So you have an idea what you're waiting around for. In a matter of speaking ;).

And I seem all over the place, but trust me: I'm not and for as far as it comes across like that - which I totally get - it has a very good reason.

So, a summary of what's almost finished and to come:

making those is so much easier than you'll probably think!

because I hadn't forgotten about that and in itself it's dead-easy (to make and the tutorial as well), I just wanted to make it for different materials and haven't been able to get my head around yet how to make it clear enough with those options  'Cause I know most - or at least many - don't have or can get the materials I used and I just like a tutorial to be for as many of you out there as possible. It's just more fun that way! :D But when I was working on it last year, it only became an enormously long post and not clear enough, so that will take some figuring out.

That I got inspired to do because of some of you and I really enjoyed writing. Only needs some minor things I had no photo's of yet, that I hope to be able to do soon.

With some surprise changes/additions that I'm very excited about, because make it even better. And all because of one unexpected something thrown in my lap - or better said: rare opportunity I decided to take with both hands and was lucky enough to get. That I have wanted for quite some time, but A) ususally way too expensive and B) never thought it be possible to incorporate in the Oldtique Store. So I had decided to either make or order that when - in the far future - I would have a house to actually be able to use if for. But this was too good a chance to pass by when it came along (read: very cheap!), so with some adjustments to the original plan, I don't even have to wait for a house. I will now be able to fit it in my store and it will make it awesome! It will also make it possible to use things/mini's that I really wouldn't have had room for otherwise. So win-win-win and THRILLED!

Yes really. Sounds boring maybe, but I think it's not. And I mean no accessories either, just 2 pieces, that's it. No, even no little flower ;). And they're quite simple pieces too, a (big) metal old (decalled)sign and a chair, from a kit. I did put veneer on the back of the kitparts to hide the mdf-look making a huge difference, but that was easy enough. Why still not ready then? Well, it's been that way for many months because I once tried to finish one of the pieces (the kit) which didn't work paintcolor/finishwise because of a material-issue making it not useful to just try again before a solution first. Long story ;)

- a little FRIDGE SCENE
Out of the blue right? Believe me, it was for me too :D. I already had the minifridge, ordered it a few years ago for the kitchen of the Oldtique Store. But hadn't even thought about it for ages and would not have been necessary for a loooong time either. And usually when an idea for no apparent reason suddenly pops in my head, like with this fridge that I'm eager to see if it works and I also can, I can control myself pretty well. Surprisingly enough and despite the screaming urges and raging enthousiasm that come with it. But this time I had been consiously - and completely - sidetracked from what I was actually doing at that time :D. Which was the cupboard below that I would normally just have finished first. But I did have much fun with the fridge and that's what counts right?!

yes, I know, it's blurry but had no other photo's of it not showing more than I want to in this preview. So this is what you'll get for now :)

And since this was always meant for the Oldtique Store, like with nearly everything else I do, it's still within the scope of what I want/need to do in the longer run. And it will all come together in one overall project, that the Oldtique Store will be after all :D. It would be possible to show the little scene as far as I got - I had all kinds of stuff already in my stash I can use for it, had printed a floor and backdrop and what I did make for it so far were just some supersimple but convincing props to complete the scene.

Which would be absolutely fine and I've considered. But for one I've been in no shape for quite a while again to sit up long enough to photograph it, which is quite essential to showing something in a blog :D. And two: I think one of the two things I was still making as the only two serious 'props', is too much fun for me to have in it. They don't need much work and would be ashame to show apart some time later.

which is the new piece I mentioned and showed the start of in 'to read or not to read'. For the Oldtique Store of course ;), it will go behind the counter with the cashregister. I much enjoyed doing something this big for a change! This is how far I got and the pictures I made along the way. With a big THANKS to my oldest brother who was so sweet to cut the wood for me to be able to make this!

Which he had to do with what happened to be a blunt miter-saw - aiai, sorry.... - on top of that he had to saw through what turned out to be hardwood paintstirrers I had for years, oops. That were different in width and look, but each of them perfect for different parts of this cupboard. Not so perfect for sawing with poor tools though... and he already is no diy-fan, poor fella.. ;) But I'm even more happy and grateful that he did!

The cupboard is after a model with doors at the bottompart. I decided to not make it that way but open at the front with just two shelves. I'll paint the wood behind those two bottomshelves black.

I'm going to stain the topshelves to match the colour of the wood behind it. I actually like the lighter shade of the shelves and the contrast they give to the back, but it will distract from the items I want to display in the cupboard, so they will have to blend in
There will be way more black paint than there is now. Like the inside of the sides, the midsection etc. The only things not black will be the vertical woodstrips behind the shelves in the upper part and all the shelves. The horizontal midsection will also have 2 small (as in 'not high') drawers.

This cupboard is and will be largely assembled with regular in-house items: paintstirrers, coffeestirrers, tonguespatula's. The rest is woodstrips of damaged wooden Roman blinds and some veneer I had (back of the cupboard and the top- and underlayer of the midsection (while the base of that section is also from tonguespatula's and coffeestirrers, but to get a nice even surface I topped it off with veneer)) It doesn't need much work anymore, the drawers being the most of it, but not difficult.

How lucky am I with those bottomplanks?? They are just woodstirrers, but a very nice kind. I've had them for I don't know how many years getting the perfect destination in this cupboard I think. And I don't think you'll find paintstirrers this modestly/naturally rustic or pretty very often! The vertical woodstrips behind them will be black, because I already liked that anyway, but will be doing the planks a bit more justice too I think.

At first I wanted to stain these shelves the colour of the woodstrips, just like I will the topshelves, but I think that would be a shame with the beautiful rustic appearance, so I'll leave these just as they are. Which is their perfect little s(h)elves, haha.

And there's some more stuff from longer ago not being able to do the type of thing necessary so far, but will at some point be ready too. Hence the 'calm before the storm', 'cause once I can do something again, I can finish several things/scene's with just minor effort and in a relatively short time and it will seem like a storm of accomplishments!

It's so funny with not that much to tell, I'll find a way to make a very long post of it. It's a gift I guess :D. An annoying gift to some maybe, but a gift nonetheless, hahahahaha :)

Take care and till next time :)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

book printies of the two books from my last post

since you were so happy with the info on dpi, kind of paper etc I used with my minibooks, I suddenly thought that I could also share my pages and covers, I hadn't even thought of that! So you can make tiny doublesided printed books for yourself, without the hassle of figuring it all out!

the decal of the left book was a bit ruined (or actually it was the magic coating) by not doing something properly, but I will change that cover sometime, or not ;)

So here are the links to the pdf's* for the pages:
PDF Animal Farm A4
PDF Animal Farm LETTER
PDF De 100-jarige man die uit het raam klom en verdween A4
PDF De 100-jarige man die uit het raam klom en verdween LETTER

It's two pages per book (front and back pages) and as you can see in A4 as in Letter-format for whichever it is you're using. And it's no mistake part of the page on the left or right is so far on the edge of the page it 'falls' off. It's because they were double pages and the part that doesn't fit entirely just doesn't make the 'cut' :D.

To print doublesided** I print one page, then feed the printed page back in my printer to print the back (how you should do this is different for each printer), selecting the second page in the printingscreen. Makes sense?

Important: when feeding your pages, best to always have a stack of papers, so you can position this best, always make sure it can go through your printer as straight as possible. Printers are different of course, but if I'm not mistaken they should all have a way of assuring that, like this (as it's done in mine, but it will give you an idea how to do it in other types):
source: HP
For anyone who hasn't read my previous post: the paper I used is Clairefontaine Smart Print paper 50g/m2. Tip for feeding the printer: because it's so thin you can't just put a page in your printer as with regular kind. But I just put a page on top of a stack of regular paper and put the whole lot in the printerdrawer or -feeder, so it's easily solved!

And here are the covers***. I realise one of them is in Dutch, but I thought all of you who are not Dutch but like realistic mini-books, might think it's nice to have a foreign book in your collection :D

I'm not sure what happens with the size if you save my image and put it in a drawingprogramme to print. If it keeps my size or if it will resize for some reason. And if not: adjust in an image manipulation programm (like Coreldraw, Photoshop or Gimp) like mentioned in my mini-bookpost about dpi's not to loose quality. And then resize a bit if you want your book to be slightly bigger or smaller.

I've just guessed what it's measurements should be, not having access to the information on the real book, so you can also decide what size you want it to be if you think I'm way off ;). But if you think it's fine or for reference: 'my' Animal Farm cover is 2,38 cm wide and 1,65 cm high (0.94 inch wide and 0.65 inch high)

For this book it's the same principle, but then I've guessed it will probably be a bit bigger. I made it 2,7 cm wide en 1,9 cm high (1.063 inch wide and 0.75 inch high)

For the cutting of the pages you can see I've used helplines on one side of the pages. First I cut the vertical lines of all the pages and then the horizontal ones. For the simple reason that doing it the other way around would mean you wouldn't have the vertical lines anymore :D. I use a veneercutter with a raizorblade to get straight edges and you can use something similar, but you can cut with scissor too. Both ways are best done with magnifying glass(es), but if your eyes are okay, maybe you can do without.

Sorry I have no pictures, but books are fortunately fairly straigtforward to make. What I do is after stacking them as neatly as I can and holding them with officeclips (make sure to put firm cardboardpieces between them not to dent your pages!) is glue the spine. I used tacky glue, but because it needs two layers, it becomes too thick actually, so for a next book I think I'll try superglue. But then I should make sure the spine is held really tight, otherwise the glue will seep through into the pages too much.

And make sure you glue the right side! I had to cut open the other side of Animal Farm because I hadn't.. And after that's dry, keep it together tightly and carefully sand the edges so it gets as straight as possible. And then glue the book in the spine of the cover. And make sure you have everything the right side up too! Seems logical right? Although thinking about that I've managed to get that wrong one time too...

When you want to yellow the pages, you cut the whole strip of the page you printed on both sides. Then put some strong tea on a flat plate that has slightly sloped sides so fluids don't go over and let cool. Then only put the page in the tea for as long as needed to soak it (few seconds) and then carefully lay it on a flat surface until it's dry. And do the same thing once more (or as often as you like to get it the shade you like). Because it's so short and as long as you don't touch it, the ink will stay on. At least mine did and with a previous test I've had it in tea longer and my ink had dissolved, so I'm pretty sure it's okay as long as you keep the 'bathing'time short.

Well, if you're gonna make one or both books: ENJOY! And don't hesitate to ask me if you need to know something you don't get or have a problem with and I'll try to help you.

*The reason I only have bookpages on the top of the pages, is because further along a page it will shift slightly. So you can only print the top when printing doublesided pages (especially when it's for miniatures). You can cut that part off, after you've printed both sides and then just use the rest of the page for a next book, since the rest of the page is then like the whole page and will print the top of that etc.

**My printer can - in theory - print doublesided through a certain setting, so it prints, then takes the page back to print the other side etc, but that never works well. From what I can remember when I tried years ago it either doesn't do what it should (and still prints two pages) or it will always come out more shifted than feeding it again. 
***Keep in mind that monitors and printers have their own way with colours (my laptop makes everything much more yellow then I can see (haven't been able to correct it.. making prints ridiculously yellow too, and I always have to adjust coloring accordingly, very annoying), so it might be necessary to adjust them. You can print them on regular paper first to see how the colours turn out.