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September 19, 2014

Remember this rocking chair?  I wrote about it here.  

I found fiber rush from Cohasset Colonials, who had nice, if slightly pricy, chair weaving kits available.  It came pretty quickly, but I managed to burn my thumb on an oven rack a few days later, and so put off the weaving until it had healed and I had gotten back from my trip to Virginia.

Yes, that IS another old wooden rocker in the background.
Brian's grandfather made it.  

 I'd just like to say that this is a frustrating, painful, awkward process best suited to someone much more anal retentive and OCD than I.  The chair frame will never be even, which means your weaving will never come out neatly in the middle, and if you mess up early on, you won't know until it's far too late to fix it.  The weaving slows down quite a bit at the end as you try to feed yards of damp rolled up paper through a progressively smaller hole while the rush kinks and twists up on you horribly.  It will probably take me three or four more chairs before I get competent at this.  I saw some cute fabric woven chair seats on Pinterest, so it's quite likely that I will NOT use fiber rush as my next seat medium if I ever bring home an orphaned seatless chair again.

Here's my finished orphaned chair, now with a seat!  I can sit on it.  and rock.  It works, so yay for success!  

The instructions called for several layers of shellac.  Perhaps that will improve matters.

September 18, 2014

Pinterest, my inspiration for pretty much everything, these days, showed me these projects one day.

Source:  AllYou Magazine

The kittens, they got to me.  I loved it, but it seemed like an awful lot of cuteness and work for something that would soon rot.  I couldn't bear to watch the kittens rot!  The AllYou pumpkin looked fake, somehow, so I decided to use fake pumpkins for this project. The problem was I couldn't find any fake mini pumpkins that looked right.

Then I remembered my mother had made pumpkins out of fabric.  She showed me her pattern when I was visiting, but it was so simple I figured I didn't really NEED one, and someone was bound to have posted fabric pumpkin tutorials online.  Oh yes, I found lots.  There seemed to be two basic patterns, one just a rectangle, the other a set of at least 6 curved strips of fabric that was wider in the center than at the ends.

Sew News has a great pumpkin tutorial for the rectangle.

Quill Cottage has a great pumpkin tutorial for the sectioned pieces.

I went with the rectangular pattern because: I'm lazy, I wasn't sure what size pumpkin would work for this project, and after studying the instructions, it seemed like I would be doing the same thing to the pumpkin no matter what pattern I used.

I found a cheap foam pumpkin at Walmart that seemed to be the right size, and begged some leftover Halloween colored fabrics from my mother.  I didn't want them to be TOO Halloween flavored because I was afraid that would detract from the kitten shape.

Finished kitten hogging the limelight.

underside of a kitten.  Making the 'divisions' in the pumpkin left a deep hole on both sides!

Then I sat and made up a bunch of pumpkin kittens.  I used a 5"x10" rectangle, and that size produced a pretty good kitten head that would fit in the pumpkin.  For the eyes, I used black felt (buttons would have worked, too.)  I made the stems by cutting narrow strips and rolling them up tight and gluing in place. I used heavy duty button thread for the whiskers.  I figured out where I wanted to place the nose, then sewed on the whiskers so that the knot would be hidden by the nose when I glued it on.

I also used polyfill stuffing for the interior.  One of the sites suggested using plastic bags, which I thought was a great idea, but I had a really hard time getting my needle through the plastic.

 . . . feed us.

You can see the plastic bags I stuffed into the pumpkin to fill up the space.  I was thinking that hay would be cute to hide that, but then I thought it would be too much like Easter grass and it would get EVERYWHERE.  Now I'm thinking a square of burlap would work, and I might try that.

My problem is I don't like the pumpkin.  It's not big enough for ALL the kittens, and obviously I can't eliminate two of them! I need it to be wider, not taller, and I haven't seen any fake pumpkins like that.  It's also obviously foam and I've got little foam balls clinging everywhere.  Maybe a cauldron?  I'm afraid the darker kittens will disappear in that.  Maybe a basket with Halloween fabric/ribbon?  I'll have to experiment.  And take pictures.

UPDATE 10/19/2014

I tried a few more settings to see what would happen.

Firstly, I do like the burlap, but it's still so hard to squeeze them all in the pumpkin.

They were much more comfortable in the spider basket, and this would be good for if they were a table centerpiece that needed to be low profile.

I think 'Pumpkin Kittens in a Cauldron' is my favorite.  They look like they're just bobbing up and down in there, trying to get your attention.  I love the way the ones up front seem to be peering over the edge.  The fabric is 'spooky' fabric I got at Party City, and the grey helps the darker kittens stand out.  

I am never going to get a good photo of this tree.

I've currently got them sitting by my Nightmare Before Christmas tree (with more 'spooky' fabric serving as a tree skirt), both of which are in the family room, so I get to look at them all the time now.  Frankly, their wide eyed stare is kind of getting to me.  I love it!

September 12, 2014

Here it is, for the moment, anyway!

I already owned most of the furniture.  The tea cart is the only major addition.  I made the sofa several years ago for my Knupp dollhouse, but it'll be years before I get that refinished and redecorated, so I'm putting it to use here. I'd like to swap it out for something smaller. The birdcage was a kit from many, many years ago, and I don't remember who made it. Eventually I'll add wallpaper and redo the wall hangings so they make sense.

The tea cart is a plastic Chrysnbon kit, which I fortunately found already assembled and beautifully finished for less than the cost of the kit.  The tiered tea tray I found at Michaels, of all places.  

I've had the roses for ages, and the deviled eggs and 'glass' cup I found at Happily Ever After in Ashburn, Virginia.  I made all of the food on the tea stand, and the devon cream and jam cups are from a punch bowl set, with the handles cut off.

The cake and 'glass' bowls came from Happily Ever After, and I found the punch dessert bowl and the cake plate at the Denver Miniatures show.

The tea set and plates came from Monumental Miniatures in Colorado.  

It's a tiny living room, but all set up for a casual high tea and an afternoon of visiting! 

You can see more pictures under Mini Shopping and High Tea Roombox Planning.

I've been feeling overwhelmed by all the projects I have lined up, so I've kind of been ignoring them.  Not a good way to get anything done!

I've done a ridiculous amount of shopping for my tea room, and I'm planning to make even more food for it.  I want to experiment with chalks and powders for fine detail and texture work, especially on breads.  We'll see what happens.

The Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys had their 2014 Fall Show in a different location, but it was jam-packed with excited miniaturists, so I don't think moving hurt them at all.  I spent quite a bit, nearly all items for the tea room, regretted some of it, and got annoyed at the number of vendors who did not include their contact information on their receipts.

I thought it would be great to change out the decor in the tea room for each holiday, so kept an eye out for appropriate decorations.

I don't know who this vendor was, but I fell in love with these miniature Halloween cake pops.  I'm not a good enough photographer to show you how tiny or adorable these are.  

I was going to make a miniature tree, but then I decided a table top size would be a better addition.    There were too many to choose from!  Then, of course, I needed a gingerbread house, and figured it would be easier to buy than to make.  Lots of polymer clay cane slices on this tiny house!

Non-tea room related (unless I get a bigger roombox and put a dollhouse in it). These are laser-cut furniture kits for 1/144th scale houses by Diminutive Details.  I have two houses in this size now, one actually finished, but the interior is kind of stark.  I liked the detail on these and will eventually get around to making them.

Trifle?  Fruit punch?  Jello dessert?  I'm not really sure, and I kind of regret buying it.  Possibly by The English Kitchen.  The 'glass' bowls and cup next to it came from Happily Ever After in Virginia, as well as the cake on the stand.

From the mystery vendor with the awesome cake pops.  I got two cake stands for a great price.  I didn't really have room for a second cake (or a second cake, for that matter), but I found a place to display it anyway!

Extra tea pot.  Was thinking of starting a miniature tea pot collection.  We'll see what happens.  The tea cart it's sitting on was another purchase, as well as the punch bowl behind it.  (I bought it for the cups.  You'll see.)  I need to glue the lid to the pot eventually, right now it's just held in place with mini wax.

I try not to go on too many mini shopping trips, so this was quite a splurge.  I even found the perfect 3 tiered tea tray, at Michael's, of all places!  They've already got some Christmas stuff up, and it was in with some other Christmas related miniatures.

Since I've already shown you bits of the room, I might as well give you a preview of the entire thing.  Details will be in a future post!