Friday, 31 January 2014

Workspace, what workspace?

So in good news, from previous posts you can probably guess that I did manage to achieve my New Year's resolution and I have in fact made some miniatures this month. Hurrah! In bad news, it doesn't look as though 2014 is going to be anywhere near as productive as previous years. Even if I had the spare time, my facilities are much reduced!

Exhibit A:

This was my workspace in the old house. Small and compact (it was essentially a corridor rather than a room), but everything I needed in one room except the oven, and easily to hand. I loved my little, labelled drawers!
Exhibit B:

My current 'workspace' - in other words the dining room table. Everything I need to make miniatures is packed in various boxes in various rooms about the house and I can't find anything. What's worse, since this is a space we actually need to use on a daily basis, I can't leave anything out so miniatures that require several steps in the oven or are overly complicated are not popular right now. In good news, at least the oven is on the same floor!
I hope this situation will only be a temporary one. There are a couple of places in the new house I'm thinking of conquering as my own, but it's so far down the list of DIY priorities it isn't worth spending too much time thinking about right now. A girl can dream!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Tuppa Tea

Everyone has those strange little sayings in their families that only a certain few know. In our house, if you want some herbal infused beverage, you have to ask for a tuppa tea. I don't know why, you just do! Here are lots of tuppa teas I've just relisted in my Etsy shop. And they come with cake too. Even better!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

The pricing dilemma...

I think everyone who makes and sells handmade goods has asked and probably struggled with the same question: pricing! This is especially difficult for those of us who make very time intensive crafts. I'd like to pay myself a sensible hourly wage as I do consider what I do to be a skill I've practised and improved upon for years. However if I actually did I worry my prices would either be laughed out the room, or even if people thought they were reasonable would just price too many normal folk out of the market, which would not be my intention at all.

I came across a pricing formula specifically meant for time-intensive crafts over at handmadeology which I found very interesting and led to some good debate.

[(time x $per hour) + 2(cost of materials)] x 1.1 = wholesale price

wholesale price x 2 = retail price

The author of the piece imagined the $ per hour to be at least $10 but acknowledged for more skilled artisans it surely ought to be more. I must admit to rarely thinking about how much time something took me and mainly focusing on the cost of materials. But if I were to follow this formula, I would have to drastically hike up my prices. I would have to at least double them if not more! I'm not sure I'm quite ready for that.

Luckily for me the income from my crafting is not 100% vital to our financial survival (although it certainly helps!) but then I worry that if I price too cheaply I could be hurting full-time crafters for whom it is their business and main source of income, which I would never want to do. It's all gotten a bit political!

As crafters or consumers of handmade products, what's your view on this? Would you use this formula? If you already do, does it work for you? And as a consumer, are you happy to pay more knowing it is handmade?

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

I've done some mini-making!

I grabbed a couple of hours last week to make some miniatures and was in the mood for candy.
So here are my efforts:
And with a coin for scale.
Unfortunately I have yet to either find a spot in my new house that's good for taking photos in natural light, or find my photo box in amongst all the unpacked mountains around here. So I'm not too happy with the photos I've been able to take. But the miniature candies themselves are very cute. I especially enjoyed making the pink candy canes.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Back to my fantasy dollhouse collection

So if I had a lot more space and a much larger dollhouse budget, 
there are lots of lovely things I would acquire.
And here is one of them:

This beautifully wonky dollhouse is the creation of Cinderella Moments and I just adore how ridiculously asymmetrical the roof is. And it isn't just the form of the house I love,
check out all that tiling detail on the roof:

That must have taken ages to complete! I also rather love the plant life
growing up the side of the house:
There are several of cute and unique houses available at Cinderella Moments' Etsy shop.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Om nom nom USA style

I've been lucky enough to visit the USA on a couple of occasions and there are lots of things I love about the place. It's so large and varied that you can have sunshine in January (thank you Florida) or beautiful tree-covered mountains (hello West Virginia). But I must admit to loving a splurge on some of the more bad-for-you American delicacies I've found during my travels.
One of my favourite discoveries of recent times is Oreos. These did not exist in the UK during my childhood, although they do now. I first had one in the States when aged 20 and thought, what have I been missing out on all my life!?
Mmmm Oreos...
And then there's cupcakes. Now clearly we have cupcakes in the UK. But I have never had one here that even came close to the fantastic examples I sampled when visiting New York. The cupcakes there were so rich and sumptuous and amazing that I had to eat mine in two sittings. I never knew cupcakes could have fillings as well as toppings. America, you educate me!
My New York epiphany looked very much like this one.

But my favourite American food themed thing has to be the wonderful combination of chocolate and peanut butter! That is a-ma-ZING! We hardly even had peanut butter when I was a kid. You could get it in a jar in the UK, but we never did because my mother is French and it was unheard of over there so she didn't know what it was. I discovered the joy of Reeses in my twenties, and with that in mind here is what my delightful hubby got me for my birthday:

He knows me so well!
I've yet to make a miniature version of this as I don't think it would be obvious enough what it was, but just thinking about it makes me drool! I hope to someday return to the USA and discover another new and terrible confectionary craze. What's your favourite American food that would look cool as a miniature?

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Getting older

Happy Birthday to me (and to the Duchess of Cambridge, we're twins).
Let's have some cake!

It's rubbish having your birthday in the middle of Winter. I think the Queen has the right idea having a second one in the Summer. I think Kate ought to make that an option for us January babes when she comes to power (I'll allow December babes in on it too). It's especially rubbish this soon after Christmas when nobody really wants to do anything fun or extravagant because we've all eaten too much Christmas pudding. But I don't care. It's my birthday, and we're having cake and ice-cream!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Sunny Side Up
Whenever I get to making miniature eggs, I find myself humming, 'How do you like your eggs in the morning?' Here are some eggs in progress:

I wish everything were as satisfying to make as miniature fried eggs. I love popping the yolks in the white goop! I also needed some more baked beans (as always) for my mini fry-ups. Unfortunately I've only made enough beans here for two or three plates of fried breakfast, so I'm going to have to knuckle down and make some more of those soon.
These are not over-sized tweezers, they are really tiny beans!

And here is the finished miniature fry-up. I turned these into rings.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

As if we hadn't already eaten enough rubbish...

It's that time of year when lots of people think to themselves that perhaps they should start eating healthily and try to burn of the holiday excesses. Well not in the land of miniature apparently! I finally managed to make a few miniatures, and it was all very bad for you!
12th Scale Rainbow Rock
12th Scale Heart Candy
And with a penny for scale

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year!

Every year I dither about whether or not to make a New Year’s Resolution. Most people never stick to them so what’s the point? Well this year I have just the one, and it is very simple – to make more miniatures… some miniatures… any miniatures would do!
You wouldn’t think I’d need any resolve to achieve this, since it’s something I enjoy. But since our house move last autumn I haven’t had the opportunity to make a single miniature of any kind. In fact, until Christmas I didn’t even have any tiles upon which to work so couldn’t have made any even if I somehow found the time. Oh yes, Santa knows me well, bringing me plain ceramic tiles for Christmas as he did (if I’ve been a really good girl all year he evens brings me liquid fimo)!
Ever since the big move into the never-ending DIY job that is our old house in the countryside, I have been either at work or doing DIY. In the few spare hours I sometimes get in the evening, I don’t have the energy or concentration required to make detailed miniatures, plus all my kit was still in boxes. I have been doing a fair bit of hand-sewing (see the Christmas present post!) but that’s it as far as creating anything goes. It’s been nearly 3 months since I made anything in miniature! And that needs to end.
Luckily I anticipated this happening, so went a little crazy over the summer stocking up my Etsy shop. As a result it has not suffered too much. But I would love to replace some of the things that have sold out and just make something new. And wouldn’t it be great to have some miniatures of my own to blog about in this so-called miniature blog!
What are your crafting hopes and plans for 2014?