Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My new Laser Cutter has taken over my life!!




I hope you all had a wonderful summer or winter if you live down under!  We were very busy and I'm so sorry I have neglected my blog. We went on a terrific family reunion to Saskatoon Saskatchewan and it was awesome. I met up with so many second cousins that I had only met before through Ancestry and facebook!

Memories of my 34 yrs of minis for this blog has really taken a back seat to my new laser cutter that we picked up around the middle of June. I have had so much fun with it and it works with Corel Draw that I have been using since I first started digital miniature designing so that has been a bonus.

The first photo shows our son's French Bulldog, Artie who we have the privilege of looking after quite often. He is standing in front of the laser cutter and always rushes into the room when it is working.The next photos show some of the Quarter Scale designs I have done with the laser cutter that I am selling through our website, Etsy and eBay. I have also added photos to my tutorial blog to accompany some of the directions.

I have been working for the last few week on fireplaces and Halloween Accessories sets with the laser cutter, so that has been really fun! It is so wonderful experimenting and seeing what the machine can do.

Mini Hugs, Jean

Thursday, July 3, 2014

34 yrs of Designing Miniatures, Porcelain Doll Making 1985 to 1988 Continued.



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

34 Years of Designing Minis continued with the early 1980's






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

34 years of designing miniatures and still going!




As I'm getting older time seems to go so much faster and I am becoming much more nostalgic. It is so hard to believe I have been making and selling miniatures full time since 1980 after teaching Art in Jr. High. I would like to write a few blogs of how my miniature business started and evolved more for myself as a journal or record but if you don't mind a bit of reading you might enjoy it too.


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.


My first miniature show was in Vancouver with the Vancouver miniature club in 1984, since there were other dealers selling full line miniatures they wanted me to sell only my handcrafted miniatures. I had started dressing tiny plastic dolls and took fimo items and tiny pottery that a close friend of mine had made. John made a wonderful open toy shop for me to sell my miniatures. If you look closely at the top photo in the lower right hand corner you can see a room box my old son Tony made of a music room filled with photos and albums. I wish I could find a better photo of it, he did a great job.  It had a dance floor inspired by Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" when he first did his Moon Walk. There is also a container of mini wax by my receipt book that I think is the one I'm still using.

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

Open to the Public, NAME's online HouseParty Roundtables and Dealers 11-6 PM PST

Wonderful news!! You may have heard people talk about the NAME Online HouseParty that has been underway this week. Today, April 27, 2014 is Public Day that follows a pattern similar to face-to-face HouseParties. NAME will be opening the doors to the Salesroom and the Round Tables to the public from 2 pm to 9 pm EST today. We invite you to join the fun. It will be at Special Events, NAME--http://specialevents.name Then click on the link for the 2014 Online Houseparty. 
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

My Miniature version of Tea at the Empress








First I would like to welcome my new visitors and followers to my blog, without you I wouldn't be here. I really appreciate your comments.

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!

A few years ago I decided to make one of the room boxes I made in a Brooke Tucker workshop into a tea room. The wonderful food is mostly from Janet Uyetake who's business name is Tiny Town Hawaii 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.
I painted the watercolour painting from a vintage image. The cottage teapot and tiny house I made  and china painted years ago when I was sculpting porcelain molds. The lovely rose
glass is from England. I hope you have enjoyed my trip down memory lane.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Free Printables from the Golden Anniversary issue 50 AIM Magazine


Hi Everyone, Here is a free printable I created for the 50th issue of Artisans in Miniature Magazine. Here is a link to 4 shared.com to these images with higher resolution the right clicking to save the pages. http://www.4shared.com/folder/ILtK6LJE/_online.html
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

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails