Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter/Sunday or Spring!

Happy Easter to everyone that celebrates it and Happy Spring to everyone else!

We've had a lovely day with an egg hunt at our house for my kids and their little friends. And then a brunch/lunch for everyone. Lots of work, but good fun. This evening we had roast lamb for a special treat! Lamb is so expensive in Florida (maybe everywhere?!) but it's our fav meat, so we treat ourselves for special occasions. Put the kids to bed early because they were so tired from the excitement of the day... which has the benefit of more time free now for minis!!!

I realize it's been a while since I posted photos of the the McK's progress. It's really coming along now. Just got the attic to finish decorating now - I've done the floors, but still lots more to do.

This is the kitchen. I used craft Skinny Sticks for the wall paneling, and then molding with a skinny stick for the 'shelf' around the top of the paneling. I'm not sure if the wallpaper is the exact right color to match the table cloth, but it's close enough for now - I can always make a new table if I find more fabric. I've made a pleated skirt to go around the window seat. I still need to make a cushion of the seat and little throw cushions - I might do those tonight. And, of course, window treatments! (Opps, ignore the tub of spackle in the room above in the photo - I forgot to crop it.)

And I nearly forgot to show you a close up of my pride and joy (errr... after my kids!). My Reutter's sink! I just love it! It's the whole reason I did the kitchen in blue colors!

And this is the bathroom. Pretty plain looking, so I still need to jazz it up a bit. I'm thinking a 3 paneled privacy screen in the back corner for the lady of the house to change behind! The bathroom set is the Chrysbon plastic set - with acrylic paint to make it look less like plastic.

This is the living room. I changed my mind about the chairs, so now I have 1 arm chair and 1 sofa - I still might change my mind back to just 2 arm chairs. But for now this is how it will stay. They are both House of Miniatures kits that I got from eBay. I also finally got the window treatments up in the living room.

I've been making quite a few 'little' things for the dh as well - the umbrella stand in the living room, the side table/counter in the kitchen, the potted plant on the coffee table of the living room... I'm sure there's more I just can't think of them right now!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Pygmy Palm Tutorial

Pam (PCakes) on the Greenleaf forum has taken a look at my blog and loves my Pygmy Palm. She asked if I would tell everyone how it was made. She is also from Florida and would like to add some Floridian touches to her dollhouse... palm tree seems perfect to me!

Well I made it at a workshop, so I haven't got the supplies at home to make another one with step-by-step photo instruction - sorry. But I'll do my best to describe how we made it. It really was quite simple once you got the hang of it.

We started with foxtail grass seed heads (see photo). The teacher says she just collects from from the side of the road.

Select 7 to 11 fronds (7 for a smaller palm, 11 for a larger one). If you're doing a larger palm, select larger seed heads, for a small palm, smaller seed heads.

Gather the stems together and wrap the very bottom of the seed head with floral tape (keep the stalks on the heads - these will become the trunk of the palm). Spray the seed heads with green spray paint - I believed we used 'Basil' color ('Olive' was used later for highlighting).

Cut a piece of wire the length you would like the trunk to be. Wrap the stalks and the wire using BROWN floral tape (or green, and then painted brown). Keep the trunk as thin as possible.

Create a 'bulge' under the fronds by wrapping more tape using a figure of 8 patten around the stems. Keep it small and smooth.

Cover trunk with Fast-Grab Tacky glue and coat with ground pepper corns.

Cover the bulge with Fast-Grab tacky glue and coat with 'fluffy' textured mix. We used a mix of seed pods and other natrual matter. Just needs to be a bit more coarse than the ground pepper corns. Trim off any 'fluff' that sticks out too much.

Use a curling tong (plugged in and hot!) to bend the fronds. You probably won't want to use the tongs on your hair after you've done this!!! The tongs will flatten out the fronds and give them the distictive palm leave curl. Use different size curling tongs if you have them so the fronds are different.

Spritz the palm fronds (being careful to cover the trunk) with Olive green spray paint to add depth.

Now either plant in a pot for a 'Palor Palm' or into a straight into your landscpaing. We used pots and I put ground tea leaves as the 'soil'. Other people used lentils of different colors to look like tiny stones on the top of the pot - very affective.

People that don't live in the tropics are normally surprised to find out there are so many different types of palm tree! Pygmy palms are particularly small - normally no more than 4 or 5 feet tall. They normally grown in groups of 2 or 3 trees. they bend out slightly from each other at the base, but share the same root ball. The lower part of their trunks from thinner and slightly smoother, they bulge out just below the fronds and are quite rough there.

Hope this helps! Sorry for the lack of photos!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Welcome Sylvia

Thanks for joining us Sylvia. She has a great blog with lots of wonderful photos... unfortunately I can't understand the writing. But the pictures are amazing! I love her 'dirty' roombox (the photo on the title of her blog, more photos in her blog). It looks so lifelike!

Now I promise that I have been doing mini work! Just nothing too inspiring at the moment. The kitchen is nearly finished (photos of that soon I promise). I've been in an 'anyhow' mood lately. I just can't seem to commit to one particular thing! Today I made another House of Miniatures chair to match the one I made a few weeks ago, and worked on a fabric skirt to go around a window seat in the kitchen of the McK. After that I did a bit of work on window frames, but that was pretty much it. I did take the top and bottom apart of a Michael's $1 hutch - I wanted to use the bottom part as a counter in the kitchen. But it just doesn't look right - too cheap looking, so either I've got to work on it more (hhmmm) or toss it!

Just 'busy' work, not really accompishing anything. Hopefully tomorrow I'll feel more motivated.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Nothing new...

Nothing new to report I'm afraid. I'm busy plugging away at the McKinley. I've got the wood floors done in the kitchen and bathroom now (everywhere is done now except the attic). Working on the walls in the kitchen. It took me a few days to decide what to do - I'm doing wood panels on the lower half and wallpaper above. Not much to show right now, so I'll post pix when I'm finished!

Here's some pictures of a refurb I bought off Craigslist for $25 (including furniture). I'm not sure if it was a good deal, but it's cheaper than a new kit!! There's a lot of work to do on it, new exterior trim, windows, roof, everything inside....!! I bought it a good few months ago, but I don't want to start on it until the McK is further along - I'm not good at multitasking (yes... I know, and me with 2 little kids!).

It's a Greenleaf Country House. I think I'm going to do it as an English pub. I've already got a bar and some benches for it. I'm probably going to thatch the roof - I've got some coconut matting for that. Lots of ideas, so I can't wait to start on it!!! But I'm being good and resisting...!!

Also... I hope everyone has seen that Greenleaf has annouced their Spring Fling contest model. It's very unusual! Not sure if I'm going to get one, it will depend on the price (hoepfully find that out tomorrow). Anyway go to for more info.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sisterhood Award

Well thank you to Casey, Doreen, MiniKat and Brenda for my award!!! This one seems to be flying around at the moment! It seems like everyone that I admire already has this award. I can't go through my whole blog list right now, so this is just dedicated to everyone that hasn't got it already! (Cop out I know!).

Welcome Jean & Minna

A big welcome to 2 new followers - Jean and Minna

I'm a huge fan for Jean Day's work! I'm so pleased she has found my blog! She has a wonderful website (Jean Day) and a blog and also has lots of free printies - here!!!

And welcome Minna, she has a great blog with lots of photos of her work - love the doilies! Minna

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Wonderful Day

I had such a wonderful day yesterday.

Firstly it was Saturday so that means my husband gets up with the children and I get to stay in bed for an extra hour or 2 (heaven!). But I didn't stay in bed for long as I had my first... MINI WORKSHOP to go to!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We made these adorable Pygmy Palms (or Parlor Palms). I'm going to put my one in the bay window in the living room of the McKinley.

The teacher, Marilyn (sorry, don't know her last name, but she's from South Florida and does trees and palms), was wonderful. She gave us so much help and sooo many ideas! The palms are made from weeds... yes, dried up foxtail seed heads! The trunk of the palm is coated with ground pepper! How she thought these up I've no idea!

We had the workshop at the club house of one of our members. Her community is RIGHT across the street from Edison Mall!! So while we were waiting for the glue to dry we all went to the mall for an hour and a half. Now this was a real treat for me! I NEVER go to the mall, and never on my own! I even went to my favorite store - Lush - that sells handmade cosmetics and bath smellies. Then back to the club house to finish the palm.

We finished by about 1.30pm, I didn't want to go home at that point as that is nap time and I didn't want to wake the kids up opening the doors etc. So I went to Joanns for a little while. Didn't get much, just some wood circles, wire etc. But again it was such a treat to walk around all on my own and look at everything! I got lots of new ideas!!!

After that I STILL didn't feel like going home, so I went to the library for a bit. And once again, this was a real treat - we go to the library pretty much every week, but I never get to look at the grown-up books! I got 2 books on minis and 1 about making miniature fleece dogs... out of real dog hair!!! Not sure if I'm going to try it, but it's fun to look through. Oh and I got Margaret Grace's first book - 'Murder in Miniature'. I need a new 'bedtime' book, so hopefully this will be worth the read.

When I got home hubby and the kids were out, the house was a bit messy, but it could have been worse (and normally is!). By the time I had finished tidying up they got home... with presents for me!!! A BEAUTIFUL orchid (my other passion) that hubby and Jack had picked out for me, and (drum roll please).... lamb chops for dinner!!! This might seem a very odd presents, but I LOVE lamb! But it's just too expensive for us to have it, we maybe have it twice a year! So we got the kids to bed and had a wonderful meal. A perfect end to a perfect day!

PS. Jack, my 3 year old, was very sweet and kept asking me if I liked my presents because it was from him and Daddy. He was so proud that he had got me a present!