Tempting treats to break a tooth on (or my unusually productive day)

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I really don’t know what got into me. I must have been inspired by something. Because today I made some sweets…lots and lots of sweets….

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Blueberry and strawberry desserts….

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And a flaky, buttery cookie with sprinkles…..(I had to try out my bright sprinkles)

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And finally, cupcakes in 1:6 scale….

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I did manage to get one healthy choice in…a tiny lonely pear! But I must say I was pleased with how it turned out…and darn if that simple little pear isn’t one of the cutest things I have turned out!

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The pear was quite therapeutic to make. Especially after the more complex pieces I made today.

The only tools needed, save one ball tool and a needle to act as a skewer , was my fingers. Some simple squishing and moulding got the shape to where I wanted it. Then, it was just about layering colours.

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This would be a great beginner project with polymer or air dry clays. By adding a pretty leaf, it would make a nice necklace or brooch. There is something so simply beautiful about pears. I guess that is why they are painted so often.

Polymer Clay Floor Tiles

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Do you remember when I started these polymer clay tiles for my first dollhouse?

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Well, they are finished! And now I am installing them in the upper level of my dollhouse. Installation is near completion and then I will ‘grout’ them with a mixture of acrylic paint and light weight spackle (the fluffy white kind).

I’m so pleased with how they are turning out that I thought I would share. Cost wise, I got about thirty four 1-inch square tiles from each 2 oz block of polymer clay. I used an economical brand of polymer clay since this was going into my first dollhouse. It cost just under $3 per block. I made approximately 180 tiles so I think it cost roughly $16 for the upstairs flooring. Not bad at all!

The benefits of making your own are in the price and the aesthetics. They look real, they are durable ( I dropped a bag of them on concrete without one breaking!), and they are light as a feather.

You could do the same with air dry clay but I find polymer clay is a better choice. Moisture won’t affect it like it would paper clays. Polymer clay also takes texture and colour (I used chalk) very easily. You also don’t have to worry about misting it to keep it moist. Another plus is you can make a big batch and store it for later, without any special preparation or storage concern.

Later on, I plan on using paper clay to make stonework to give this a lovely English cottage charm…but for tiles, I think I would opt for polymer clay.

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Can you see my schnauzer’s beard in the upper corner? Lenny is always inspecting my work!

And here is a set of tiles I made for a lovely buyer from Utah. They have a softer terracotta look. I used several variations of colours of clay here, combining them together. She wanted something that resembled Santa Fe tiles….

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Cherrylicious!!

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Yesterday I whipped up a batch of polymer clay cherries. Then I mixed up some cherry sauce from fimo, clay from my cherry batch, and soft pastels.

It was my best cherries yet, so I went all out and made a bunch of desserts with it!

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Two of my favourite cakes; Cherry Cheesecake and …….

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And I still had more cherries left. “Waste not want not” my mother always says, so I made another cherry cheesecake and cut it into individual slices.

 

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To make a batch of cherries, mix an equal amount of red and translucent polymer clay. Then mix in just a speck each of black clay and purple clay (this creates a black cherry effect). Once it’s fully integrated, roll into a thin log and slice fairly equal segments to roll into small balls. Take a small chunk of that clay and mix in approximately twice the amount of liquid sculpey or fimo to make the syrup/sauce. Scrape in a bit of red soft pastel and mix well until you have the colour and consistency you desire. Remember it will bake up a bit darker. When you add the cherries to the dessert, for realism, smoosh them with a ball tool.

Now I really really really want a slice of the real thing!

Realistic Dollhouse Floor Tiles

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This weekend, I continued working on my dollhouse. After finishing the lower level floor from millions of skinny sticks, I turned my attention to the upper level. After I regained feeling in my fingertips!

Once finished, the dollhouse is going to be a confectioner’s shop! The sweet lady who owns it will work out of the upper level, which will be a sprawling kitchen and a small sitting area for her to put her feet up. It will be open-spaced so I want a floor that doesn’t look too busy. Something classic and warm. To keep it from being busy, I chose to do it in larger tiles. The tiles would be represented as 12 inch tiles in real life.

I’ve been looking online for miniature flooring tiles but the ones I can afford are made from cheap vinyl sheets. Not the aesthetic that I wanted. I wanted a ceramic look. That got me wondering if I had the patience to make the tiles myself.

…So, I looked to my own kitchen tiles for inspiration.

I chose Craft Smart polymer clay in light brown (which is actually a great caramel colour). I put it through my pasta machine to make sheets that are roughly 1/16th of an inch thick. I trimmed these into individual tiles at 1 inch square.

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Sienna and burnt umbre soft pastels were applied with a soft brush for colour.

Next, I textured the tiles by stippling with an old toothbrush, and created a tumbled edge with my ball tool.

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After curing and cooling, I protected the tiles with matte varnish.

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This is my life size tile that inspired the miniature version!

I will glue the tiles to the dollhouse floor. Beige acrylic paint – mixed with a bit of gesso- will serve as the ‘grout’.

These are some other tiles I have custom made for clients who visited my etsy shop…

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To simulate Nordic stone tile, with tumbled edge. 
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This client asked for Sante Fe style tiles. They are textured and painted to get this effect.

Dollhouse Breads

 

 

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My recent Tea for Two.

This past week I focused more on dollhouse scale miniatures, as I am starting my first dollhouse build. I’m very excited to complete it (and share it with you all)… but I have to constantly remind myself to slow down and focus on all the tiny details!

Tiny details are the best parts after all.

I thought I would share some bread and scones I made to go with a tea set I had in my collection of supplies. Breads are always fun to do as they evoke such a homey, warm feeling.

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A poppyseed and cream cheese bagel necklace that I recently did

 

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Strawberry and cream scones…for a proper tea

I am also sharing the work of some of my favourite miniature artists. These are some of the best miniaturists I have come across!

The following photos are from the uber talented Satoshi Tanaka from Nunu’s House miniatures. Absolutely my favourite artist!

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Photo credit from Nunu’s House miniatures

 

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Just look at that amazing crust! Photo from Nunu’s photostream

There are also a couple of Singaporean artists I love to follow; Cindy Teh (Snowfern Clover) and Pei Li’s Dollhouse Miniatures.

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A perfect sandwich by Pei Li. Photo credit from her facebook page.
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Cindy Teh’s beautiful fluffy cake texture. I’d love to know just how she achieves it!          Photo credit from her Snowfern Clover facebook page.

Pei Li also makes gorgeous flowers and other non-food items. Cindy Teh’s sushi and fruits are beyond compare in my opinion. If you love miniatures and are looking for inspiration, check out these two ladies!

Carol’s ‘Acorn & Beet’ Cookie Necklace

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“They’re pink”

“Beets”

“Beets?”

“Beets…it’s what makes them sweet”

“I’m not really a beet kind of guy”

“just put it in your mouth, jerk”

If you are a Carol fan from The Walking Dead you remember those lines from a recent episode. Carol is my favourite. I love the duality of her nature. On one hand, she is the casserole and cookie Queen…on the other, a warrior who will get the job done.

Many of us women are like her, I think. It’s why she’s so popular. We love our families, we are peacekeepers, caretakers, and often the glue in our relationships…but we also know that in a zombie apocalypse, or any scenario that threatened those we love, out comes the claws.  Don’t mess with our Carol!

I loved the scene with her cheerfully picking out her perfectly pressed blouse and cardi from her closet, only to get zombie blood splattered all over it in the next scene. The exasperation on her face was priceless.

…Anyway… I love her ability to bake up goodies from foraging for acorns and a depleted stock of canned goods.

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Carol roasting her acorns that she will later grind into flour. Photo belongs to AMC.

Inspired by her ingenuity, I made the cookies from that episode into a multi-media necklace for myself. It’s made of polymer clay, wood, and paper. Tucked behind, on another board, is Carol’s cheerful face, in a modified sketch design:

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The cookies have a hint of pink, just like on the show

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And, in the event that you want to make these cookies- the edible version- a blogger at Ready Nutrition has posted the recipe!

 

 

 

 

 

BBQ Ribs & Baked Potato for 18 Inch Dolls

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I made these today as I thought about BBQs getting fired up soon. It occurred to me that little girls should have some BBQ food for their dolls too.

And if the dolls should have food, why not make it realistic? There are lots of plastic mass produced doll food in the big box stores…but handmade with love is so much nicer!

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I swear I could smell the BBQ sauce after this was done curing!

 

A Mini Succulent Garden

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This weekend brought news that we were in for more snow Monday. I have seriously had my fill of winter!!! I could wait no longer for spring…if the real blooms aren’t happening, I was going in search of some faux ones. Normally, I’m not a fan of silk flowers and fake plants, but Michael’s has some beauties. And I needed a visual reminder that, YES, it IS Spring even if the weather says otherwise.

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I took a nice little haul home from Michael’s where their Garden Collection line from Ashland  was on sale. I picked up these little pieces…succulents attached to cute mossy rocks. The mossy ‘rock’ base was made from styrofoam and I found they wouldn’t stay where I put them as the plants made them top heavy.  I fixed it with sticking in a tooth pick into the bases and driving them down into the crushed gravel. I already had the metal planter and pebbles so this project just cost me $1.69 (a great sale!) for each succulent grouping and $3 for the crushed gravel…$8 all in, and I love it!

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Aren’t they as pretty as the real deal ?! I was so enamoured by these that I was inspired to make a miniature version.

I will share a couple of tips I found useful for anyone attempting a polymer clay garden…

As with real succulent gardens…less is not more. You may want to leave some empty spaces for a place to rest your eye, but keep them minimal. People who design succulent planters always go all out, filling all the nooks and crannies. And at first I wasn’t happy with my planter until I added the large rocks. You can do the same with your miniature garden…if you don’t have any pebbles, you could make them from your clay.

I found a lovely combination of clay colours to make the translucent-green base for the succulents. Pictured below is the combination I used left to right : translucent sculpey, wasabi, treasure (to make it glisten a bit), and olive. You can gauge how much is needed by my cutting mat. This was enough to make all the plants (with the exception of the dark green one).

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…and this is the colour you end up with after mixing them:

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Also, I found toothpicks a great help for building my plants around. I could also use them in a bowl of rice to stand them up while baking. Then I just snipped them off before assembling my garden.

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As a focal interest, I chose to make a little pagoda. I love how it turned out; primitive and cute! I formed the roof first, and pre-baked that before continuing with the rest of the building. This, I also did on a toothpick.

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I chose Fimo Effect “stardust” to mimic slabs of black granite. They are bonded together with liquid sculpey. I plan on sanding it and buffing it out to a nice shine later.

I used chalk pastels to add subtle red blushing to the leaves. I used a mix of glaze and purple acrylic paint to colour the top of the center plant, but it didn’t show as purple. I will try to carefully add another thin layer later.

Both planters were fun to do. I am, of course, most pleased with the miniature one. I didn’t go to a botanical reference book…this was all about fun and freely sculpting. I think, in the process, I took the liberty to create some new species of succulents!

Now…if only the snow would go away so I can grow a real succulent garden outside!

Favourite Pie?

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Spring has sprung (or it’s trying) and soon the valley fruits of Nova Scotia will be too. I can’t wait! I see homemade jams and pies in my near future….

 

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For now, I’ve baked up some faux ones. At the top of our family favourites are blueberry (my husband’s pick) and my favourite …sweet sticky pecan pie!

 

What is your favourite pie?

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Cookies in Clay (a recipe)

 

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Chocolate chip cookies have to be one of my favourite foods to shrink down. They aren’t exactly easy, as there are several stages of texturing and shading, but call me crazy, it’s almost therapeutic.

To achieve realism -if that is the look you are going for- it’s all about the texturing and shading. I start with a big lump of conditioned beige polymer clay with a bit of translucent clay mixed in. About 1 part translucent to 3 parts beige.

I begin rolling out a bunch of balls, close to the same size. I flatten them all with my thumbs, pulling down on the edges, to leave the center slightly higher. Cookies have lots of divots and valleys, so I create those with an xacto knife and needle tool. Next, I use a tooth brush and small ball tool to finely roughen and dimple the surface.

Next I poke in tiny chocolate chips, which I make and prebake ahead of time. Then I shade with soft pastels – mainly an all over yellow ochre, followed by a reddish brown on the edges and raised bits.  I bake and then I used gloss sealer dabbed on the chips. I use matte sealer on the cookie because that is crucial for achieving realism.

These cookies are the perfect size for 18 inch dolls like American Girl, and I will be adding them to my shop. Hopefully they will find a place at a little girl’s doll table one day. They would be perfect for a tea party!

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