Saturday, February 25, 2012

margaret_loves all-natural

I put together another scene in my Ikea Lekman box, this time a bedroom with a Zen/nature kind of theme. I  mainly just wanted to design a room around one of the new lamps I made :)

Here is the long description of credits since I seem to have used items from every corner of the earth and then some for this scene, with some unusual re-purposing as well :)

Credits: The bed is made by me using lots of foam, glue, and fabric raised up on a cardboard box with a flooring sample as a headboard. The lamp and most of the books are also made by me. The nightstand is Re-Ment and the chairs are from CB2. The television and white shelves are from DHE Minis. The trunk/chest that the television is standing was once a bright purple plastic accessory for my childhood Littlest Pet Shop toy :) I gave it a makeover.The flooring is real cork scrapbook paper from Michael's and the wallpaper is also scrapbook paper. The floor lamp is from a Call of the Small giveaway. The ottoman is a plastic bale of hay that goes with the horse trough serving as a bookshelf over the bed. These came in a big bag of plastic toys I bought at a thrift store. The wooden turtle I bought at a craft fair. The wooden tree is from a scrapbook store. I also used wooden toy blocks for end tables. The painting is from a card from a local art gallery by an artist named Ford Smith. The rest of the accessories are Re-Ment or commonly found miniature items from craft stores.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

margaret_loves Black and white

As much as I love color, I also like to use a more sophisticated gray scale palette in a room sometimes. Of course I managed to fit in a few turquoise/teal pieces, I couldn't help myself :) This room definitely has some masculine and feminine elements, and it reminds me of an apartment for a hip young couple with plenty of income and an eye for design :) I used one of the cubes in my white Ikea Expedit shelving unit to create this room, and I taped tracing paper to the back wall for a translucent lighting effect. It was a dark and cloudy day, so the picture didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped, but I got a few decent ones. 
In this photo you can see my handmade sectional along with the Barcelona day bed and black shell chairs made by Reac. The acrylic risers are easy to find on ebay. I made the rug out of felt, and the lamp is also made by me. The flower pillow is a plastic button and the "laptop" is actually a pretend book from a children's toy set that I found at a thrift store. Coffee cup is Re-Ment, vase is DHE minis, and the books are made by me. 
In this photo you can see the other lamp I made on a mirrored table/cube from DHE minis. The purse is from a children's toy grab bag I bought at a thrift store. The shoes are Re-Ment. The textured wallpaper is from Michael's.
The television, black cube shelving unit and white vase are all from DHE minis. The accessories are Re-Ment, handmade, toys, or beads. Fireplace is painted wood from a craft store. Side table is made from a gift box and a wooden drawer. Espresso maker is Re-Ment. 

This photo is my favorite. I love my lucky finds in my plastic toy grab bag from the Goodwill store. The "laptop" and "pillow" are very convincing. And the lamp I made looks pretty good in this photo, and the blue color of the lamp base looks most true-to-life :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

margaret_loves Modern Art

 I love modern art. I was an art major in college, and now I am an elementary school art teacher, so this scene is a long-time coming. It was inspired by some large plastic nuts and bolts I found in a big bag of children's toys I bought at a thrift store. It had all kinds of random tiny goodness bits in the bag, and I played around with these in particular to see how I might use them.  I thought that just simply laying them down could look like a large iron sculpture, modern and industrial looking.

 I also wanted to use my new Barcelona day bed. It is the most detailed and beautiful Reac piece I have purchased thus far. It was pricey, ($32 with shipping) but it is so large and well designed that I think it is worth every penny. Especially since most upholstered miniature sofas cost about the same, and are nowhere near as realistic-looking. Anyway, it is a work of art on its own, but it also looked just like a lot of the leather benches in modern art museums. I added a few postcards from my collection and textured paper from Michael's to the walls and floor. I had previously put together some miniamalist wall art from Lego that I thought I could use, and to fill up some additional space I stacked some mirror cubes and building blocks, and created a stand from an acrylic table turned sideways and tops with an abstract sculpture I made from a couple of old hoop earrings I never wear. Its funny how easy it is to create "modern art" with a few simple objects. I just played around with them and bent them into a shape I liked. The whole scene only took about 15-20 minutes.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

margaret_loves making lamps

Now that I have made a couple miniature lamps, I can't seem to stop :). I had saved a few items I thought would make good lamp bases, and now I have finally put them to use.

Left: Lampshade made from a wallpaper sample, base is a green ceramic drawer knob glued on a white button.  Center: Shade is made from ribbon, base is painted wood. Right: Shade is white cardstock, base is made from a metal pushpin, blue plastic bead, and clear button. The lampshades are attached using the wire harp method I mentioned in a previous post, though this time I used hot glue to secure them in place. 

margaret_loves does not love making lamps

Somehow, when I start to make something tiny and delicate my normal-sized hands transform themselves into huge, clumsy, ape-hands that I have little control over. This is why I have avoided making miniature lamps. But, after a long struggle, I think I was moderately successful in today's attempt. So here's my not-very helpful tutorial if you are anything like me, if not you can whip up a pair of these no problem :). 

My lamp bases are made from wooden pegs I found at a craft store. My husband helped cut off the bottom studs with his Dremel tool, and left on the top studs. 
I painted the wooden lamp bases and coated them in clear gloss medium, (I still need to do some touch ups) and then I fashioned a lampshade harp from some wire. I basically created a loop that wraps around the top stud of each lamp base, with arms reaching up to hold the shade. For the shades, I used two types of ribbon I had on hand. The white one is wired and had satin edges and a sheer center, I wanted to use it but I needed it to be opaque, so I taped a strip of gray ribbon behind it. I was afraid to use glue, since it might soak through the ribbon and create spots, so I used clear tape to hold it in a cylinder shape. The hardest part was taping the shades in place while reaching inside the lamp and taping it to the wire harp. I kept pulling it and putting it on too high or too low, and messing up the shape of my fragile lampshade in the process. Anyway, I think it worked out okay in the end, and I'll keep thinking about an easier method. For now I am happy to have some new lamps! Here is a preview in a scene I am working on with my new lamps:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cheering up a Gloomy Sunday: Charlotte's Room

    The weather today is dark and rainy, it is one of those gloomy Sunday afternoons. Since I don't have to work on Monday or Tuesday, I haven't given in to the gloom. Instead I am inspired to make some use of my free time to work on a room I came up with on Valentine's Day. Too bad the weather didn't want to cooperate. Anyway, I started by collecting anything I could find that was pink, red, or heart-shaped to put together a V-Day inspired theme. But it wasn't really coming together, and I couldn't seem to pull off the romantic vibe. The only remaining V-Day inspired items that made the cut is a pink candy heart on the dresser (as a jewelry box) and my favorite little heart mug from my childhood. I started putting things together that looked very kid-friendly, so I decided to make a girl's bedroom. I am imagining her as an 8 year old girl named Charlotte. She is quiet and organized, and she loves horses and reading chapter books. Her room is kind of in transition between a nursery and tween bedroom. 

      The dresser is a Re-Ment nightstand with the lamp removed. The numbers wall art is made using scrapbook stickers. I bought the horses yesterday in a mixed bag of plastic toys from a thrift store. The bed is also from a thrift store, it is from a common miniature nursery furniture set.  I used a cocktail umbrella for a parasol, it would be cool to put a light behind it and make it into a lamp. The tree is laser cut wood I found it at a scrapbooking store. The bookcase is commonly found generic furniture as well, I just painted it white and temporarily put paper on the back of each shelf. All the decorative papers (rug, floor, walls, etc) are from Michael's. The chair is Reac Japan. The origami elephant is from a Jonathan Adler origami kit. All accessories are Re-Ment, Dollhouse Emporium, handmade, children's toys, or hobby store finds.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

margaret_loves Miniature Swaps!

I just wrapped up my first miniature swap parcel for Alisa (studioseven) whom I met on the Modern Miniatures group on Flickr! We set a budget of $10 for the swap, and I suggested the color blue for the theme. She uses Playscale and 1:12 items, so I included a mixture of both. Since she already received her package from me, I think it is safe to post pictures of some of the items I sent her :)

On the left is a photo of a few mostly handmade items I included in her package. I've seen the hanging Bubble chair idea a lot of places, like Mad for Mod and Minimodernistas, and I have been wanting to make my own version. I made cushions from my thrift store blue velvet shirt fabric, filled them with dry long-grain rice and stitched the openings together. I used a jewelry chain to hang it, and I think it came out pretty nice. The chair is half of a plastic Christmas ornament globe from Michael's. I am going to make another one for myself with the other half.

The two cubes are wooden craft cubes from Michael's with squares of felt and mirror board glued on to create cube tables/ottomans. I also cut the grey textured rug and zebra print rug from felt sheets. The acrylic table is one of the display risers I purchased on ebay.

The round rug (on right) I made was inspired by Amazing Miniatures. She has posted a super quick and easy rug making tutorial using simple materials most crafters already have on hand. I liked using multicolored twine and the spiral pattern it makes. The other "rug" is origami paper by Jonathan Adler. I found the blue Barbie chair at a thrift store. Below it is a side table made from wooden bits that I glued and painted, and below it in the photo is a Playscale cake stand by Re-Ment. The knitted pouffe is a hacky sack/footbag from Party City. The picture frame is a Scrapbook sticker from Michael's. The lion (or faux "Foo" dog) is a painted bead coated in gloss medium. The hand is an eraser from Target. I also filled a blue toothpick case with beads and other small bits and miniatures. 

It was a lot of fun working on the swap, and I enjoyed the challenge of working with a budget and theme. I hope to do it again soon. Let me know if you are interested in a miniatures swap! When I receive my package from  Alisa, I will post more photos.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

margaret_loves Navy Blue Velvet

I've been obsessed with the idea of having a navy blue velvet couch in my formal living room. I've pinned some pretty fabulous blue velvet sofas and other furniture to my Wish List board on Pinterest. Not sure my husband is as in love with the style as I am, and it will be a long time before I can afford one (and by then I may have moved on to another trend, knowing me). So, to satisfy my craving for a glamorous navy velvet Carrie Bradshaw-esque couch, of course it is time to turn to miniature!

A while back I won this couch from a Call of the Small giveaway. I used it in one scene that I thought was pretty cute, but the color and pattern isn't very appealing to me. It has pretty clean lines and a simple design though, so the time has come for a makeover. Have I ever reupholstered miniature furniture before? No, this will be a first :)

I wanted to remove the bottom part of the sofa and replace it with some wooden or chrome legs. This step was easier said than done. I used a kitchen knife to wedge, slice, crack, and pry the bugger off. Finally, it was done, with a mess of tiny nails sticking out. They snapped off easily enough with a wire cutter.

Next I starting playing with fabric. I looked for navy velvet fabric at a craft store, but before buying it I thought about looking instead at used clothing from a thrift store. I found a long-sleeved buttoned down blue velvet women's shirt. It was more than enough fabric, plus it cost a lot less. After deconstructing the shirt, I cut off a piece and started contemplating how to cover my sofa. I used straight pins to hold it in place. Now I am kind of stuck. I don't know what to do next. Should I use glue or staples to attach the fabric directly? Sew some kind of slip cover? Sew or pin the fabric directly? Or just figure out some temporary way to keep it on.

I am also considering using pins or thread with tiny beads to create a tufted detail on the back of the sofa, but I am not sure it would look right with the overall style. Anyway, that's a little too much information/over thinking for this project. Any advice would be great, and I'll let you see how it turns out.

Once I finish it, I have some lots of 1:1 scale inspiration photos I can attempt to recreate in 1:12 scale. Oh, and apparently nothing goes better with a navy velvet couch than a zebra skin rug and acrylic coffee table :)

Images from Pinterest.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

margaret_loves Roomboxes

I saw these storage cubes on Design Milk. I am drooling over the sliding cut-out walls in different colors and designs. I want them all to make into dollhouse rooms! Too bad they are just prototypes for now from Note Design Studio in Sweden.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Time Travels

It's been a busy weekend of miniature-making and scene setting! I have been putting together my very first swap parcel for studioseven and I picked up a few papers and laser cut wood decorations from a scrapbook store.

This scene is a step outside of my comfort zone in many ways. A while back I asked my husband to pick out a sheet of scrapbook paper that he liked, and I told him I would create a room around it. Kind of like a self-imposed challenge. He picked out an historical looking old map design. I had some ideas for it, but nothing I owned would really work with it. Then for our anniversary, he bought me a set of Mission-style living room furniture. I wanted to use it, but it was a bit over sized for most of what I owned, and a completely different style. Today, when I saw this laser-cut clock face, I was inspired to try everything together. I wanted to create a well-traveled collector's living room with a modern design. I used the Ikea Lekman room box (again) mainly because of the open space, and I like the look of the clock with a translucent background. Of course I wasn't able to photograph it before it got dark, so I only got a few decent photos. I am happy with how it turned out, and it really reflects my husband's style. Challenge complete :)

Mission style furniture set from Bookcase from The Dollhouse Emporium. Side table is an upside-down votive holder from Pier 1. Lamp from Call of the Small giveaway. Re-Ment accessories from PlayScale Minis. Clock face by Kaisercraft.