Monday, 30 September 2013

50 things to do before you're 11 and 3/4

 
It's time for a non-miniature post today. I came across this list of 50 things according to the National Trust, . Having grown up in a semi-rural location, I think I stand as good a chance as any of having lived a full and outdoorsy childhood, so let’s see how I did.

1.       Climb a tree. Done many times (and fallen out of a few too).
 
2.       Roll down a really big hill. I can do better than that, I’ve rolled down the Dune de Pyla which is the biggest sand dune in Europe!
 
3.       Camp out in the wild. I have camped out thanks to the Girl Guides and Brownies.
 
4.       Build a den. Using both natural trees and bushes, play equipment or the simple favourite of an old cardboard box.
 
5.       Skim a stone. Well I’ve attempted it plenty of times. I get ½ a point for trying!
 
6.       Run around in the rain. I grew up in the UK, this is practically unavoidable.
 
7.       Fly a kite. I’ve not just flown kites, I’ve flown homemade kites made from bin liners and electrical tape. Beat that!
 
8.       Catch a fish with a net. I caught my neighbour’s goldfish from her garden pond when I was 9. I got in a lot of trouble for that.
 
9.       Eat an apple straight from a tree. No because my there wasn’t an apple tree, but I have eaten plums, hazelnuts and figs straight from the tree. I get ½ a point for that too!
 
10.   Play conkers. Of course!
For anyone unfamiliar with the term,
here is how you play conkers.
 
11.   Go on a really long bike ride. Nope, I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was 9 or 10, and wasn’t really confident until I was 12. There was no stopping me after that though.
 
12.   Make a trail with sticks. No, I could find my way round the woods by looking at the trees.
 
13.   Make a mud pie. Yes, I made a whole mud cake shop. Grass garnish cost extra.
 
14.   Dam a stream. Yes, although usually they were outlets on the beach so smelled pretty special.
 
15.   Play in the snow. Yes but only a couple of times as in the ten years I lived on the Isle of Wight it only snowed once! The other time was when an aunt took me to the French Alps, I loved it!
 
16.   Make a daisy chain. All the time, the cat simply loved modelling them for me.
 
17.   Set a snail race. Yes, although unbeknownst to me the reason my uncle kept so many snails was so he could EAT THEM!
 
18.   Create some wild art. Yes, all the time.
 
19.   Play pooh sticks. Yes, there was a footbridge over a stream that was perfect for this nearby where we used to go on caravan holidays.
 
20.   Jump over waves. Grew up by the seaside, so all the time.
 
21.   Pick blackberries growing in the wild. Every year.
 
22.   Explore inside a tree. Poked a few with sticks if that’s what you mean?
 
23.   Visit a farm. Yes. My uncle is a sheep farmer though, so it wasn’t difficult.
 
24.   Go on a walk barefoot. My mother had to shout to make me wear shoes.
 
25.   Make a grass trumpet. We called them whistles but I think it’s the same thing.
 
26.   Hunt for fossils and bones. The Isle of Wight is renowned for its dinosaur fossils so I hunted all the time. The best I ever found was a dog tooth.
 
27.   Go star gazing. I could find Orion the Hunter but that’s about it.
 
28.   Climb a huge hill. Yes, the walk to school!
 
29.   Explore a cave. Never found any, the beaches were all sandy.
 
30.   Hold a scary beast. I held one half of a huge snake at the zoo, I held the head end because I was FEARLESS!
 
31.   Hunt for bugs. Yes, we had a worm farm.
 
32.   Find some frogspawn. Did this in school, we grew them into frogs in the classroom. We also hatched chicken eggs in an incubator (the extremely dedicated teacher took it home every evening) and had a very fun day full of little fluffy chickies running around the classroom. We laid blankets down and they managed to find all uncovered places to poop on. I love nature.
 

What happened more often than not
when I tried to catch a falling leaf
courtesy of the Bitter Stickgirl.
33.   Catch a falling leaf. Yes.
 
34.   Track wild animals. I found a badger set if that counts?
 
35.   Discover what’s in a pond. Please see aforementioned goldfish and frogspawn hunting.
 
36.   Make a home for a wild animal. We put up a nest box once.
 
37.   Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool. My grandma took me to one once.
 
38.   Bring up a butterfly. Never did this.
 
39.   Catch a crab. Never on purpose, but I’ve upset plenty!
 
40.   Go on a nature walk at night. I’m sure we did this with the Brownies once or twice.
 
41.   Plant it, grow it, eat it. Sort of. It was more like plant it, forget about it, mother grew it, I ate it. ½ point for me!
 
42.   Go swimming in the sea. All the time.
 
43.   Build a raft. Well I tried, they were all incredibly dangerous. It’s a good thing I could swim!
 
44.   Go bird watching. I didn’t have to, I lived in the middle of the woods so the birds came to me.
 
45.   Find your way with a compass and map. I’m sure we did this in school.
 
46.   Try rock climbing. Nope. Tried it when I was a little older – I was terrible.

Check out my campfire cooking skills.
 
47.   Cook on a campfire. Yes, thank you Brownies.
 
48.   Learn to ride a horse. No, I was once placed on a horse against my will, but that doesn’t count.
 
49.   Find a geocache. I don’t think such things existed during my childhood.
 
50.   Canoe down a river. I canoed on a flat lake once, I don’t think I was ever deemed competent enough to have a go in a current!
 
I got a respectable 41/50 with one of those 50 being impossible as it hadn’t been invented (gosh I feel old). So how did you do?

Friday, 27 September 2013

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

An old dog can learn new tricks.

So I made a new tomato soup set recently. Nothing out of the ordinary there...
 

 
BUT, I may have finally learnt from recent mistakes. Anyone who follows my blog knows I have a problem with overfilling containers so that the lid won't close. Well not this time!
 
Tadaa:
 
I finally remembered to allow for the fact that liquid fimo has a tendency to expand slightly while baking. Well done me. It's only taken several years. No stopping me now.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Salmon and veg

I made a miniature salmon and veg platter recently.
 
I really like to combine lots of different techniques into one miniature. It makes it more interesting to make from my point of view, but I think it also makes it more interesting to look at and notice all the different things you can do with fimo.
 
 
There are slightly complicated canes in the tomatoes and cucumber and a simple one in the carrots (look closely and you'll notice they're paler through the centre). The salmon fillets mean making a cane that isn't the standard circular shape, and the asparagus make good use of gradual colour blending.

 
I also enjoyed messing around arranging everything on the plate. All in all, this was a very fun miniature to make.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Afternoon Tea

So I know I said I would stop making exclusively sweet miniatures, but apparently I didn't mean it. Here is my latest miniature, a fruity themed tea set and cakes. Just what I needed!
 


 
And here's another set in case there wasn't enough tea to go round:
 

 
 
 
 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Busy Week!

I've had a really busy week in my Etsy shop. It was a nice surprise after a pretty quiet August.
I made this a while back but it sold today!
Although I work in sales in real life, it's a completely different industry and I really haven't worked out the patterns of craft-selling. Clearly I would expect it to be busy in the run up to Christmas, but I wouldn't have guessed mid September would be a high-point. Not that I am complaining at all! After 4 years online I am a whole lot more organised than I was when I first started on Etsy, but it does all seem a bit of a mystery at times.

And I sold this which was brand new,
but no fear if you missed it, I made a second one.

I wondered if LittleTimeWasters was featured on some lovely blog somewhere, but I can't seem to see any out of the ordinary incoming links, so who knows? If it was you, let me know so I can say thanks. Maybe it was just good luck. Long may it continue! (Hope I haven't jinxed myself.)

Monday, 16 September 2013

Leftover rainbows

As is my way, I couldn't simply throw away such pretty scrap clay as was made from my rainbow cakes. So I made some candy canes with the leftovers and here they are:
 

 
This is making me want to visit Blackpool quite badly!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

400!

I made 400 sales on Etsy! Hurrah!
 
Let's celebrate with cake!

I was hoping to get a screen shot of the exciting 400 sales, however much to my delight it went straight to 401 as two people placed orders at the same time. Two orders in one day - that's pretty good for me! It took me over 4 years to get here, so I'm not quite ready to quit my day job just yet. But it's something to be proud of nonetheless. Here's hoping we get to 500 sales in the next year.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Rainbow Cake

Here are my rainbow inspired goodies. I used the same rainbow layers to create two different looks, with different purposes.
 
For the jewellery makers, I made these simple but durable rainbow cake slice charms.
 
 
 
And for dollhouse miniaturists I used made a more realistic version using liquid fimo for the icing and texturing on the cake itself. I used the leftover cake layer cane to make tiny heart and flower decorations for the top of the cake.
 
 


And with a penny for scale
 I don't make proper dollhouse miniature cakes with slices very often, so I was quite pleased with how these turned out.


 

Friday, 13 September 2013

Somewhere over the rainbow...

I feel like making something colourful and uplifting since Summer seems to be over and we've got 7 months of rain to look forward to here in the UK. Here is some inspiration in colourful cake form (what better kind is there?):
 
 
 
If only I had known about this cake
when I got married!
 
What a great use of M&Ms!
 
 


Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Purple

It seems I'm on a bit of a sweet roll at the moment. I promise I will make something savoury at some point, one day.
 
Here are some purple candies I made recently. I love a matching set!
 

 
 

Monday, 9 September 2013

Some Miniature Magic

I was wasting time on the internet when I came across this miniature beauty!

 
This is Hogwarts Castle in miniature! Well, one's person's interpretation of it, as I think we sadly lack one or two of the magical dimensions required to 100% reproduce the thing in miniature.
 
Still, I think this is a pretty spectacular effort.
 
 
 
Myrtle's bathroom
Gryffindor Tower
I'd love to make a themed dollhouse miniature like this one day. Has anyone done the Burrow? That seems like a fun project for any Harry Potter fan, which I must admit to being - the books at least. I've yet to see all the films as I am apparently living 30 years behind everyone else.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Thanks for the feature!

I was featured on a blog by Megan's Beaded Designs. Thanks very much for sharing the miniature love! It's weird (in a good way) to find my stuff elsewhere on the big ol' internet.


 
Megan shares the work of lots of crafters as well as her own pretty, beaded creations. I love looking at teeny tiny bead work. She makes all kinds of different beaded creations, but being the slight oddball I am (only slight, I assure you) I rather love this one:

Friday, 6 September 2013

Love at first sight

Like many miniaturists, I was first introduced to life on a smaller scale when I myself existed on a smaller scale – as a child. I didn’t have the typical dollhouse and Barbies and obsession with all things pink and sparkly. In fact I developed a proper aversion to all things pink by the age of 6, I blame having three brothers and a thorough enjoyment of playing in mud.

This caravan was my favourite!
But I loved animals and imaginary play, and I had a decent collection of Sylvanian Families (Calico Critters in the USA) which was added to each Christmas. Half of their clothes were homemade from scraps of felt, and I made the food (badly) from fimo while my dad being the excellent carpenter he is even helped me to make various bunk beds and tables from off-cuts of wood. These were the most basic things you ever saw, but I thought they were SO cool.
This was the pinkest thing I ever had.
Despite having a number of nicely decked out proper Sylvanian buildings (the last of which was the Boutique complete with frilly wedding dress, was my mother trying to girlify me?), I was also happy making houses from cardboard or having my Sylvanians live in the woods and weaving rugs out of grass. They even spent a few weeks living in a ‘dump’ – I think I must have recently read Stig of the dump when that inspiring setting hit me, I was a weird kid.
 
Although a lot of my play involved very dramatic and terrifying plots (such as when the rabbits had to escape into the woods as their homes were bulldozed or when the hedgehogs’ shop was burgled, like I said, weird kid) I did used to spend hours making intricately set-up scenes from my collection and whatever I had made. I loved to line up all the little pots and jars in my ‘shop’ or set up a restaurant complete with tiny knives, forks and spoons. I think that’s the part most miniaturists love too, and it’s never left me.
 
In an ideal world, I would have enough time and space to have a proper dollhouse with lots of rooms to fill full of handmade and homemade miniatures, but alas it’s not the case at the moment. Other than the squirrel tree which sits on top of a bookcase most of the time, there’s just no space for such ambitious projects.  One day though, there will be a room in my house that will look something like this!
 
When did you first discover a love of miniatures and what is it you enjoy most about it?

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Here are a few of my favourite things

I don't smoke, I'm not one to drink and I don't even like the taste of coffee. But don't start thinking I'm some kind of vice-free angel. Sadly not. My big weakness is a sweet tooth, especially anything involving chocolate. So it should come as no surprise that this is also one of my favourite things to make in miniature (along with cupcakes, there is a theme developing).


 
And with a penny for scale.
 

Monday, 2 September 2013

It's cupcake o'clock

One of my favourite miniatures to make are cupcakes. I love that there is a literally endless scope for different decoration designs. I've been icing quite a few miniature cupcakes recently, here are how they end up.