Thursday, July 3, 2014
These photos were some of the dolls I made for shows I attended in 1985 to 1988. I was so lucky because we would only have one miniature show in Victoria but in Vancouver they used to have to a year and I was fortunate that in Vancouver in 1986 Expo was on at the same time that the doll and mini shows took place. We got to go to Expo with our son's 3 times that year. I was most impressed with the new computerized screens to find your way around Expo that we bought our first computer that year. My dolls did very well at the shows and I was selling to good friends as well as miniaturists and I would come home with lots of orders too. I felt so blessed with everyone's interest.
When I was going through some files I came across a small recipe card from about 1984 with a map I had made of each of the steps I would need to take to become a porcelain doll artist. I started with my goal and worked backwards, 1. find an outlet for porcelain (found Seeley), 2. order molds (found reproduction doll molds that I had always admired since I was in the doll club with collectors of antique dolls) 3. find china painting supplies (took a course in china painting too (that helped with my shiny eyebrows, lol), 4. learn how to pour and clean the porcelain (books from the library). 5. find books on historical fashion, loved this part and I started a wonderful library of antique doll and costuming books. I already had a kiln that I was using for pottery and wind chimes for craft shows. It worked quite well setting up certain goals. I used to make my own clothes and designed clothes when I was a weaver so the pattern drafting I found fun too. All aspects of the doll making really appealed to me, especially painting tiny eyelashes and eyes.
I was really inspired by my mother who always enjoyed making figurines ( she made her own molds for plaster castings too... when I was little I loved the smell of plaster which came in handy when I started to make my own molds). I was always so impressed with the way mom painted their beautiful eyes. She used to do very small knitting too for my dolls and she always said her favorite doll when she was young, was one the fitted into a tiny pill box.
Above left were my very first dolls, I used to take orders at shows for dolls but the first one I made was always the most exciting. It was so exciting to open the kiln when is was cooled down to see how everything turned out, I loved the way porcelain vitrifies and gets smaller and solid and can get such a wonderful sheen and softness wen sanded once fired. It was really enjoyable dressing the antique Brus, Jumeaus, Mein Leibling, Twerps, Pouties etc and to look up actual historical costumes, buy silks and antique laces to dress them in authentic looking costumes. At that time I also sold straw hats, I would buy old straw hats and take them apart to use the straw and I enjoyed crocheting them as well. Next time I hope to show showing the houses and room boxes we made.
Sunday, June 15, 2014
The upper photo shows one of my first roomboxes of a Weaving Studio I made in the early 1980's when I had left weaving and started miniatures. I did this in a wonderful class at Diane's Dollhouse miniature shop that had recently opened in Victoria. The instructor taught us how to make the room box which had glass on the front and two sides and how to finish the flooring and the surface of the box top and base. We then decorated the inside with a theme of our choice. I enjoyed making miniature weavings for the tapestry and pillow, all of the baskets except 2, pottery, table, looms, seat, swift, shuttle, carders, drop spindle etc. I also bought a Dremel lathe at the time to make the spinning wheels which were both reproductions of my own spinning wheel. I also spun some very fine wool to hang on the wall and put in the largest basket in skeins.
In the three photos below the Weaving Studio you can see more of the plastic dolls I made for a show in 1985, I always had so much fun turning the plastic dolls into little people. I had a fascination with dolls and had joined our local doll club and then miniature club. At this time Cabbage Patch dolls became popular after they were first introduced in 1983. I made my youngest son who was about 3 yrs a turquoise and navy jogging suit and made one for a Cabbage Patch Doll as well and they both won a Cabbage Patch look alike contest, he had chubby cheeks at the time. That was exciting for both of us. You can see some of my miniature versions of the Cabbage Patch doll, also fairies which I have always loved. There is also a moth shown in the left of the bottom photo. I was also making fimo teddies and bunnies etc at this time for the shows. It was fun to use the half scale baby cribs and playpens for them.
Next I would like to talk about how I went from plastic dolls to starting a miniature porcelain doll business.
Monday, June 9, 2014
The first show where I sold miniatures was at a Christmas craft show when I was pregnant with Alex my youngest son who is now 32, see how time flies!! I used a bunch of large round metal 8mm film canisters. I put a pin cushion on the bottom area and a miniature scene in the top. I made a sewing room, kitchen, baby's room, and a few others that sold well, so I was on my way. We then found that the miniature shop in Victoria was for sale Alex was so small he couldn't talk but thought all the tiny things were great. We bought it, moved everything to a room in our business and I called my business Daydream Miniatures because my last name is Day and it was all a dream. We had a room in our basement where I sold the miniatures by appointment and I also had made a miniature catalog. It was so difficult to make a miniature full line catalog. In those days, nothing was digital. I had to take black and white photos of everything and have the catalog printed. I then put an ad in a miniature magazine and hoped someone was interested. My first show was the local Hobby Rockhound and Stamp show in 1984, shown below. Mom used to take me each year to the Hobby show when I was younger so I was very pleased to be in it myself. I had a very large display with all of the houses John and had built and other kits we were selling. John worked very hard making room boxes and house designs to sell and I finished them inside. I also started fimo and handcrafted miniatures to sell as well. You can see a photo above of our house kits and my roombox of miniatures.
I was so pleased with the reception my minis received and knew then that I was going in the right direction. It was difficult when I first start making miniatures because I wanted to try to make everything that was large small!!!. Life had become so exciting for miniature inspiration.
Sunday, April 27, 2014
Everything on our website is in Canadian Funds so that is an extra savings for our US customers because of the exchange rate. I hope you will enjoy the NAME HouseParty roundtables and dealers!
Sunday, April 6, 2014
I woke up at 5:30 this morning inspired about a miniature scene I'm still working on but started a few years ago. I have often tried to go back to sleep when that happens but I know it is better to get up. Life is very short and it is best to strike while the iron is hot or I might forget what I had in mind altogether.
Tea a the Empress in miniature is the name of this room box. This miniature room box came about because of my love for the Empress Hotel here in Victoria B.C. Canada. I knew I didn't want to do a replica but more of a feeling that I have when we go for tea there. Once a year for quite a few years John and I have gone for tea with a lovely group of friends. It is fun to reunite with our friends and we always have a wonderful time and come home with a lovely box of Empress Tea. We are both gluten free and the Empress always graciously accommodates us. For those of you who haven't had a chance to visit the Empress tea room it has a beautiful view of the inner harbour, very high ceilings and Victorian furnishings. Such a terrific atmosphere for a tea party.
The Empress brings back so many memories, when we first moved to Victoria with my grandparents when I was 9 yrs. old we used to go to the Empress cafe for Sunday brunch. I don't remember what I ordered but I always knew it was special and I loved the atmosphere. I do remember what my mom and grandmother ordered and that was a My Lady Fruit Salad, they loved it...fruit and cottage cheese on a bed of lettuce. After lunch we would sit among the plants in the conservatory by the waterfall on the wicker furniture with the tile floor.
In my teens I used to go to various dances there that were always special and fun. After finishing High School I needed a job to help pay for University and I had a friend who was working there and suggested I might like it. I worked at the Empress all through University and it paid my way from answering the phone for room service to waitressing. I worked in the still room for a while which was part of the kitchen with the loud but likeable French Chef. I used to prepare the crumpets for the afternoon tea. After that I worked in the Garden Cafe many years as a waitress and hostess. It was a great experience and wonderful to help me get over my shyness.
My fist Steampunk convention was at the Empress too, great venue and it inspired me to make my Steampunk Inventors room in a microscope case http://jdayminis.blogspot.ca/2010/07/steampunk-inventors-room.html
While I worked at the Empress, I would often think that I would like to come back to stay for an evening and we did for one of our anniversary, we had a view of the inner harbor and it was perfect!
http://tinytownehawaii.com, I thought Janet's work was perfect for this setting. The plates are very similar to the plates at the Empress. I still want to make fruit salad in glasses for the scene and some bowls of Devenshire cream for the scones.
The lovely wooden turnings were by Mike Rowe. The Raku pottery I purchased from Jon Almeda at a couple of shows. His business is Almeda pottery. Such terrific work!! http://www.etsy.com/shop/AlmedaPottery I loved being able to buy Raku pottery in miniature since I love it full scale too.
Friday, April 4, 2014
Please watch where on the page you down load these pages, there is a lot of advertising on the 4shared pages because I have not paid for a premium account.
Have a lovely weekend, Mini Hugs, Jean
Friday, March 21, 2014
New Miniature Toy Theater KitFor years I have loved Fairy Tales and have collected many antique Fairy Tale books. I really have enjoyed finding many variations of the same fairy tale from about 1860 to 1950. Only the images from before the 1930's are the ones I use in my projects, digital and kits for copyright reasons.
I used many of my antique children's books for the images in this toy theater which I designed with inspiration from antique toy theaters. My favorite Little Red Riding Hood book is from 1896 and that is the one I used for the front header and images on either side. Another book I used has a fabulous rose cottage on the cover and I used it for the granny and then wolf in the window scenes. I also used photo shop to design the scene behind the mother and Little Red. This theater is something I've thought about designing for a long time so I found it really exciting to make.
This kit is nice to make up because it is a fabric panel and glue doesn't stick to it, the scenes are on photo paper. It would look great in a child room on a desk in one twelfth scale or in an outdoor scene in half scale.
Shelly's wonderful Show started yesterday and goes on until Sunday. I've been having so much fun looking at each of the tables. It is free to view and shop and you don't have to leave home!
Here is a link to get into see the show http://aminiminiatureshow.weebly.com/ Just click on the dealer link in the top header and you can choose by alphabet or dealer by scale.
I have many new miniature kits I'm offering this year at 25% off and since we sell in Canadian funds on our website it offers US customers an extra savings. The new kits are in both one twelfth and quarter scale. My new kit include a mini Little Red Riding Hood Toy Theater, Quarter Scale Memory Trunk and French Sewing Kit. Here is a direct link to our show table.
Hope to see you there! Mini Hugs, Jean
Monday, February 10, 2014
Here are some of the new French Postcards that are up in my Etsy shop. I have really enjoy working on these, painting and trying to bring them to life in Photoshop.
Today I finished a Vintage Romantic Rose miniature Photo Album digital download project which is now on Etsy here.
I have included many of these postcards in miniature in the Romantic Rose Project. The frames are cut out and the antique images are placed behind the cut out shape to give a realistic look. The cover was a scanned image from my antique albums but I made the background rose.
Happy Valentines to all of you. Hugs, Jean