Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Got it Nailed!

Chris in Canada writes:

Here's an idea that I've been using for a long time to solve a common problem when making minis. It won't turn a piece of trash into a mini, but may save a mini or two from being turned into trash. ;-D

Don't throw away your empty or nearly empty nail polish bottles. Fill them almost to the top with polish remover, screw the cap back on, shake well and let sit overnight. The next day give it a good shake and pour out the contents. Wash with warm water with a few drops of dish soap added, rinse then check to make sure all the gunk on the inside is gone. A Q-tip will remove any small amounts. Also examine the cap and brush. If there is only a small bit left on the brush stem or in the top, you can easily remove it by scraping with the tip of a toothpick or a pin. If it is still really gucky, repeat the treatment with fresh remover.

Use your clean bottle and brush combo to store brush-on sealer, custom colours of paint or stain for any touch-ups you may need as you progress on a project, watered down white glue for stiffening thread or fabric, colour washes and so on. There is nothing more frustrating or wasteful of time and supplies than trying to make an
exact match for a custom mixed colour weeks or months after you made it. I label the bottles with a strip of masking tape noting the project it was made for and where appropriate, a dab of the contents,then keep it with any other supplies I have set out for that project.
When there is no more need for the contents, I wash out the bottle ready for re-filling.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

This little light of mine...

From Chris in Canada:
This tip uses the Breeze brand meter made by Bayer, with which diabetics and pre-diabetics test their glucose levels. (Other meters may use similar lancets, but
everyone I know uses the same type.) Anyhoooo, the lancets come in the form of a ittle tube with the needle point, henceforth referred to as "the stabber" for reasons that should be obvious, covered with a cap. You need both parts (used ones are fine), a straight pin, small scissors, glue, a craft knife or pipe cutting tool, 1/2" or so of heavy white or black thread, paint and clear sealer of your choice, and a tiny bit of 'whatever' including any one of the following: raw Fimo, plasticine, play-doh, putty, paper mache, styrofoam, used bubble gum, or even a scrap of kleenex dipped in glue.
1) Glue the cap securely to the stabber, being careful not to stab yourself in the process.
2) When the glue has set, cut the tube off about 1/2 way down, just above the blunt end of the lancet needle or wherever you think it looks right. (WARNING: If you cut it off too short, you will have to either snip off the needle's end or try to yank it out with pliers. It's your call.)
3) Brush some glue inside the tube and fill it with the 'whatever' right to the top.
4) Coat the top of the 'whatever' with a thin coat of glue and immediately poke a tiny hole in the centre with the pin. Coat one tip of the thread with glue and insert it into the hole, pushing the glue covered 'whatever' around the thread to hold it in place. When the glue has dried, trim your wick with scissors to the length you desire. If you are making a previously lit candle, before adding any
glue, remove a bit of the whatever and shape a depression as if the candle has melted the wax in the centre. Use black thread and cut the wick shorter than you would for a new candle.
5) Paint the candle (stabber part) the desired colour being careful not to get paint on the wick when you do the top of the candle.
IMPORTANT: Stop the candle paint where the little lip sticks out, about 1/64" from the top of the cap. This lip is part of the candle holder, not the candle. Also, adding a wax (paint) drip or two down the side adds realism, but don't over-do it unless you really want it to look like something that belongs in a wizard's workroom.
6) Paint the cap section, including the lip on the stabber, with a metallic finish or use a glossy white and hand-decorate with permanent marker or water decals to resemble porcelain.
7) Finish everything off with a coat of clear sealer. Glossy for the base and semi-gloss or matte for the candle will further enhance the separation between the holder and the candle. Try a metallic pewter paint or a brushed steel nail enamel with a cream or ivory candle, or put a pure white or bright red candle with a copper holder. Add a bit of greenery for a festive look. A pale blue or pink candle on a white porcelain stand decorated with tiny flowers is very feminine, as is a mauve candle with lilac sprays. A drippy orange candle on a black holder screams Hallowe'en, and white on either metallic gold or white is always elegant. Add a seasonal decal or tiny clipping to the candle itself and keep the holder plain.
NOTE: The cap by itself makes quite a nice vase in both 1" and 1:24 (HS) and can also act as a protruding chimney liner, a stove-pipe on a roof (open end up) or even a small scale chimney pot if you paint a small circle on the cap's top to represent the flue.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembrance Day

John McCrae is pictured with his horse Bonfire and his dog Bonneau. His WW1 poem was memorized by many Canadian "boomers", whose parents had vivid memories and experience with a second "War to end all wars".

John McCrae's War  - Films from the National Film Board, WW1 from a Canadian perspective.

Clare Gass from Nova Scotia served as a battlefield nurse with John McCrae, who shared his poem with her. She wrote a diary of her experiences.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Three in One

From Chris in Canada:
I recently tried those new all-in-one laundry sheets with the detergent and softener built in and although I still am not convinced they work as well as the traditional detergents and separate softeners, I love the used sheets for mini uses. They're thick and soft, but also have a firm backing, which makes them perfect for small pillows, furniture padding and for mattresses if multiple layers are used. I also used some today for snow on a lawn, and after a bit of brushing with a wire suede brush, it has just the right amount of fluffiness.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Let's get Corked!

From Chris in Canada:
Here's a quick and dirty trash idea for used wine corks. If you shave
off paper-thin slices working from top to bottom on the cork, you'll
find it naturally breaks into smaller segments, many of which
resemble the trees, birds, leaves and so on in the Chinese cork
pictures. Select the best ones and build a scene on a pre-cut piece
of acetate using the moisture from a damp finger to temporarily stick
the bits in place. Add another piece of acetate cut to match and
sandwich the whole thing between 2 cardstock "frames" painted shiny
black or dark brown. Add a small stand made from a block of balsa or
Fimo and there's your very own Oriental masterpiece!