Saturday, November 20, 2010

My Child is Very Sick

I need to apologize. I started this project with the intent on finishing it before Thanksgiving. My daughter's health has not improved with two sessions of antibiotics, and she's been in and out of the hospital. Her doctor cannot find the answer. I need to spend time with her. I will not be able to finish this project in time. I've sent a detailed email to the members of the yahoo group, and I hope that soon this will change. I am praying for my daughter's health, and when she is better I'll no doubt be back to crafting.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Slight Delay

After taking my daughter to the emergency room yesterday (which took 9 hours!) we learned that she has acute bronchitis accompanied by the flu. Her temperature keeps reaching towards 103, and she hasn't been able to sleep more than half an hour at a time because of her coughing, which often leads to throwing up. Poor baby! :(
My husband took the morning shift so I could get some sleep before he left for work.
I've sat down to work on the flooring and now I have to start with a new box. I had the box reinforced with foam core, had in the wallpaper and trim, and glued in the floorboards (skinny sticks or coffee stir sticks). I must have used the wrong glue because, as I slept, it warped the sticks! So then I tried to pull it up just now and completely ruined the box.
I'll have my husband bring home a new box of Stove Top tonight when he comes home. I'll reinforce the new box in the same way as before, but I think instead of gluing the pieces in right away I'll do a new tutorial. This time I'll cover the walls, ceiling, and floor before I put them in the box. I'll include the measurements this time, too.
I think I'll take this opportunity to change my wall treatment. I used a printed wallpaper from the link I provided, but it just doesn't say "Thanksgiving." I found a fabric I'll use instead. I still would like to have wood flooring, but I think I'll break out my felt for carpeting, just in case it doesn't work out.
I apologize for the delay, but I'll work quickly to catch up. I would like to have the table built and covered by the weekend so I can decide if I'll have a chair or not.
My daughter is on antibiotics and fever medication and cough medicine for her throat (which probably feels raw). She gets energy spurts which make it hard for her to refrain from playing. I get some time here and there to work on minis, so I'll use it to finish up some swap items until tomorrow.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Tutorial: Reinforce a Flimsy Box Container

As promised, I will show you how I made the box stronger using foam board.
The foam board I am using is 1/8'' thick, covered in black paper. I got it from the local dollar store, but Wal-Mart and school supply stores should carry it, as well as most craft stores. I didn't choose the color purposefully, it will be covered up later.
The first thing I did was to trace around the sides of the box, except the front of the box because I'll be cutting that away. It just makes the box sturdier for tracing if it's intact for this step. I traced the back, left and right sides, and top and bottom.

Next, I cut the pieces out using a dull exacto because I had temporarily misplaced my sharp one. This was a mistake, I do not recommend using dull cutting tools. Take care of your tools, as I have found the hard way that a dull knife will not cut foam smoothly! (Hey, this is my first start-to-finish project, so bear with me.)
Cut the pieces about a centimeter inside the lines you drew, so they fit inside the box better. Trial and error says you should do a dry fit first, and trim or miter the top and bottom pieces if you glue in the side pieces first.
Glue in the back piece first, then dry fit each piece before you glue them in, because you will probably need to trim them. I would give measurements, but I want this tutorial to work for any size box. I use a white paper glue for this project because essentially you're gluing paper to paper.
When the pieces are glued in, you have a sturdy roombox or house for your scene. I took the picture sideways to show you that the box I chose can be used for a 1/2" scale roombox. Turning it on it's end will create a narrow 12th scale room, like a closet. I was hoping to fit a dining table and chair in there for my Thanksgiving Dinner scene, but I still have options.

Option #1: I could omit the chair and squeeze in the dining table, leaving lots of room for wall decorations or an illusory window.
Option #2: Change the dining table into a circular kitchen table or a buffet-style table with no place settings or centerpiece.
Option #3: Change to a 1/2" scale scene and have more room than intended, which I could fill in with more chairs and place settings, more decor items, etc.
I haven't actually decided yet. I will decide by Monday when we do the ceiling, wallpaper, trim, and flooring. I've decided on a wood floor, so I need to go pick out some wood stain.
I hope you're having fun with this project, and I hope it illustrates how things don't always end up the way you pictured it, but in miniature it can still work out.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

1st Project: Thanksgiving Dinner

On the left is the box I'll be using to house my Thanksgiving Dinner scene. Note that it's a twin pack of stuffing, of the kind we'll probably use for our RL Thanksgiving, which makes this container free ;)
In the middle is a pile of synthetic leaves I picked up from my local dollar store (originally for scrapbooking embellishments). They are shimmery and a little see-through. I think I will use them to cover the floor of my scene, and maybe the walls too (I haven't quite decided).
To the right is a pair of cupcake boxes. I really like the clear window, so I bought the pack of two to see if my 7-Boy would like to make a Thanksgiving scene along with me. His will be a more simplified version of the same project.
Inside the "house" I was thinking about making a table and chair, and covering the table with some polymer clay food. Then I'd create some kind of centerpiece and some wall decorations, or a window, or both. I'll be reinforcing the flimsy cardboard box with foam board and creating a front cover from transparency plastic (meant for overhead projectors).
Here are a few links to some tutorials that inspired me: is for free printable room borders. is for free printable wallpaper. is a whole list of video tutorials on making all kinds of things, but fpr this I'll be using the turkey, platters and dishes, macaroni and cheese side dish, and bread. has some tips on making another turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing. has lots of things, including a flower arrangement, papier mache pumpkins, cornstalks, a cross-stitch cushion, and vintage Thanksgiving cards to print.
this is my first choice for a table. This is my first choice for a chair. has a great table idea if I can't get the wood to work for me. this will be easy to enhance if the wood chair doesn't work out.

If you have any other ideas that you would like to share, you can leave them in a comment here or message them to the group! Saturday I will show you all how I reinforce and decorate the box. Have fun gathering materials!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tomorrow We Start!

I have chosen a container and brainstormed some ideas to fill it. Tomorrow I will add a photo of the original container before any alterations, list supplies I'll be using to construct a sturdy "house" and post links to free tutorials and ideas to get us started. The container is easy to find, and I'm sure something similar can be used if you are an international follower. It will be very cheap to construct! I want to include a couple of the more challenging items to make to help us build our skills, but you can also substitute for something easier or something you already have. I'll be making mine in 12th scale, but most things should be easy to adapt to a smaller scale.
Our yahoo group (by the same name as this blog) has 14 members already! I'd like to have a blog giveaway when both the yahoo group and the blog have at least 20 followers. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Let's Make Miniatures Together!

Here's how it will work for now:

1. I will select an interesting miniatures project that focuses on being low-cost, mostly handmade, and easily available. This can be based on an interesting container that I find with my newly-found "mini eyes," or a project that I come across online that I think would be fun.

2. I will create a blog post describing my vision of the project, with a list of ideas, links to tutorials, and some pictures of the starting materials.

3. If you would like to follow along, join the yahoo group (link below), and begin gathering supplies and deciding how closely you would like to follow my example. You may decide to make changes.

4. Over time, we'll work on our projects, perhaps deciding to have a swap of items to fill our scenes. I'll post a tutorial or two, and share pictures of the work in progress. Over at the yahoo group, we'll have a photo album for the finished projects, and a file of all the ideas and links we came up with. We may even have a challenge or two.

5. Someone can help me decide on the next project, give me a challenge!