Monday, 27 April 2020

Gardens - real life size and miniature ones!

Anyone else found unexpected enjoyment in an activity since lockdown? 
Vintage illustration by Anne Anderson from a delightful book picked up from local charity shop, just before lockdown. 
Well I am pleased to say that I have suddenly found a renewed interest once again in my badly neglected garden. I used to love gardening but in recent times, my enthusiasm has sadly been lacking and I never seemed to have enough time. But since lockdown, everything has changed, I have been out there for hours at a time and am finding it extremely therapeutic.

 I have suddenly found so many odd things so satisfying, such as hacking down brambles and cutting them into tiny pieces in order to cram as much as I could in bin bags, it took me absolutely ages, but now time seems to be irrelevant. And I never thought I would find digging out bindweed and ground elder so enjoyable, how sad is that! 
I have redesigned the old brick area which was first created several years ago, but like everywhere else, had become overrun with weeds and moss.The lungwort is rather pretty this time of year and is rampant in that corner.  
After ridding the area of weeds, I used  recycled black membrane and large redundant pebbles from the other side of the garden, to fill empty patches. Am chuffed with the result. Plus other bits and bobs were added that were lying around, such as some old terracotta tiles leftover from my kitchen floor and a tin chicken which was a present quite some time ago.

My old herb garden that had been situated in the central part of this pebble area had to go as it wasn't working and its position too shady, so I dug it all out. The bare patch was then covered with recycled black membrane and larger pebbles from the other side of the garden. Have decided to keep herbs in pots on the patio instead and in a sunnier position. There is still much to do to get this garden as I really want it, but am determined to keep going with it now...and my aim is to make the garden lower maintenance. 

Whilst looking through files of old photos to add to my KT Miniatures Archive page, I came across the many miniature garden projects that my workshop colleague Robin Britton (now retired) and I created together over several years. Those garden workshop projects have yet to be added to the archive, so as a taster I thought I would add various pictures with some additional info of materials used below, which I hope may interest those of you who like creating. 

Down The Little Old Herb Garden Path Project
Gate made from wood and based on actual design found in a 1920s/30s woodworking book. Old slabs made from recycled cardboard, paint and grouting of sand. Rope edging made from braid and cardboard, then painted. 
Old rusty bolt simply made from cocktail stick, tin foil and paint, stone wall from cardboard and paint, then grouted with sand.   
Bricks were made from sandpaper and the assortment of plants and flowers were made using a variety of materials, including scanned leaves of actual plants and scaled down to size, then printed on paper.
Round The Back Of The Old Gardener's Cottage Project
Fence made from large matchsticks and fuse wire, water carrier made from painted card and purchased plastic wheels, grass is hemp died green.

Down The Little Garden Path Project
Crazy paving made from painted cardboard, compost bin netting made from fabric netting sprayed silver and aged with paint, then filled with dried tea and miniature vegetation including some tiny miniature paper leaves.  Cold frame constructed from wood and clear plastic glazing, then filled with layer of dried tea leaves and tiny pots made from  air drying clay.

Miniature hosta plants made from hand painted leaves scanned,  then scaled down and printed onto paper, each then attached to a thin wire stem.  Slug made from Fimo and given a glue slimey trail!

Over The Little Garden Fence Project
The back of this garden scene was dominated by the hand made wooden fence accurately constructed based on the real thing, and given a heavily aged white painted finish. 

The Little Old Washing Line - Xmas Special Project
Old fashioned coal bunker made from cardboard, grit, wooden strips and paint. Plus painted stones to look like coal.
Washing line made from painted wooden poles, made to look like vintage concrete poles, and wire washing line. Clothes are meant to be Santa's, as this was a Christmas workshop project. 

I hope you have found the miniature garden projects interesting and maybe inspiring enough for you to have a go at making a miniature garden yourself.

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Happy Easter & KT Miniatures Archive Now Back Up!

Happy Easter to you all. 

I hope that you are all OK and staying safe. What a strange Easter holiday weekend it is for all of us this year? But if you are stuck for something to do, then I have something for the miniaturists amongst you to while away a few more minutes of our "lockdown" time:)

I am pleased to say that I have managed to make a good start on KT Miniatures' Archive section which has remained blank for too long, although it is going to take many more hours to complete in its entirety. For quickness and ease I have created separate sections within the Archive, such as Magazine Articles, Old Dolls House Sections, Commissions, etc. 

Here is a taster of what you can see on KT Miniatures' Archive section so far...

"The Old Curiosity Shop In A Book" was made for a "how to make article" for Dolls House & Miniature Scene magazine, way back in 2012. 
Remember the Bertha (Penrose) & Ralph Wright Collection - with connections to the Bloomsbury set, with all the handmade, hand painted and unusual carved pieces of furniture?
Or how about the rare collection of four c1920s Beatrice Hindley plants? These were found by a lady from up north in a box of china that she had bought at auction. 
Remember this Victorian seaside scene I made as a joint project for Dolls House & Miniatures Scene Magazine with my old "Nostalgia In Miniature Workshop" colleague and great mate Robin Britton (formerly of Coombe Crafts but now retired). This was made 7 years ago now...can't believe it! Click on the Play button to view the YouTube video of how the project was made from beginning to end. But please note that our Nostalgia In Miniature Workshops closed its doors in 2016. 
This was a commission undertaken many years ago now, of a hospital scene based in World War 2 at Christmas, inside an old cabinet. Was great fun to do. 

This was another commission of a 1930s General Stores. I had to undertake a great deal of research on the packaging, which proved quite challenging to create, but the customer was very pleased with the result. 
And here is another joint project that I made with Robin Britton, for a "how to make project" that appeared over a couple of  2012 issues of the Dolls House & Miniature Scene magazine. It was sold in a sealed bid auction to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Campaign charity. If you click on the Play button above, you will see an old promotional video that was created for this at that time. 

These are just some of the items that you can see in KT Miniatures Archive and I am planning to continue adding to it over the next few days. To view the Archive Page, please click on the following link to view:

Meanwhile, continue to stay safe everyone, in these difficult times.
Celia X

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Continuing On From Last Post...Two Dinosaur Framed Box Pictures!

This is a continuation on from my last post, where I showed you the two framed scenes I'd made for my granddaughters, and as promised, here are my two grandson's framed pictures. 

Let's just say, they are both into dinosaurs! 

Sadly, all photos that I took when making them were lost when my previous computer crashed at the beginning of January, but I do have pics of the finished you will be able to get the gist, and maybe these pictures could kick start ideas of your own, if you know of any little person into dinosaurs! 
The frames were purchased from Hobbycraft earlier last year in a sale (about 3cm in depth), and the idea for these framed pictures came after purchasing two felt made dinosaurs at a local craft fair. An orange and purple one...very bright but fab, and were so cheap! 
The interior of the frames are accessed from the back but the metal holding tabs were quite fragile, so I really only had one go at the end for clicking the back into place. The background was made up of a layered montage of  prehistoric landscape images found on the internet, and printed onto paper. There were four layers in all and it was a fiddle to get the perspective right but got there in the end. 
Over several weeks I collected toy plastic palm trees, metal dinosaur badges, dinosaur erasers and an assortment of plastic dinosaurs from charity shops and Ebay. Great fun!
This photo is a bit blurred as the light reflected on the glass frontage - sorry about that. 
Most of the smaller dinosaurs I could simply glue into place, although I did have to snap off the back pin from the badges as it made them too bulky. But the most challenging was having to slice the larger plastic dinosaurs in half with a large craft knife, some were of the hard plastic type. I nearly sliced off one or two of my fingers in the if you try that at home, beware and keep your fingers out of the way. 

As a finishing touch I purchased blue painted wooden letters and stuck them on the bottom of the there you are. My grandsons seemed delighted. 

You could use this concept for all kinds of themes, not just dinosaurs. If you don't have a frame that has much depth then how about using an ordinary picture/photo frame, take the back off, then use a shallow cardboard box to make your scene in. Once finished, glue the box onto the back of the frame. OK, once it is in place you won't be able to add to the scene, but it is equally effective. 

I have received some emails asking what the backing picture was that I used in my granddaughter's room boxes...including an email from a lovely lady from Alaska. It was an image I found on the internet of an old book illustration by Enid Warne Browne. 

If anyone has a go at any of these projects, do feel free to email me photos - would love to see them. 

Meanwhile, I hope you are all ok out there wherever you are and staying safe. 
Celia X