Saturday, August 22, 2020

Life in uncertain times

 And, finally, the weekend.

I gave up on the studio as too cold and decamped to the dining room table, where I finished the last few things I needed for my chair scene, then, chasing the light, to the kitchen to finally put it together.

I call it Life in uncertain times.

(And I'm hoping that that 'P 30m' sign doesn't mean 30 months: although my mortgage would be rather pleased if that were the case!)
Careful placement of the chair, and the angle and cropping of the photographs means you don't get to see this:
(I did have a back-up plan which involved ever-so-casually draping a throw or shawl on the side of the chair, but that turned out to be unnecessary).

One good thing about setting up a scene on the kitchen bench is that you're forced to put it away (or at least somewhere else) before you can start preparing dinner...

Mid-week minis

 I finished the chair. And it sat there for almost a week waiting for me to have the time and headspace to finish the scene I was planning for it, and for some light to photograph it (it's been a grey, rainy and freezing week, culminating with snow early this afternoon).

That doesn't mean I've not been mini-ing. After I logged off from work each afternoon this week I pulled out a kit from stash (in a fairly random way: but focusing on quick and easy wins), and worked on it.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Life in lockdown

 And so, after almost ten days of side-eyeing my half-completed and almost abandoned chair kit, yesterday morning I came up with a plan that might just work, and, more importantly a possible solution to cover its problem area.

And reminded myself that done was better than perfect, the whole point of the exercise was luring myself back into the studio, and if it all turned to shit I would quite happily bin the whole damned thing.One-twelfth scale modern miniature chair kit with fabric half glued to it and clamps holding it while the glue dries.While waiting for the first lot of glue for the day to dry I played my favorite game of 'Who lives here?', reacquainting myself with the stash to see where the potential scene was heading...Flat lay of various one-twelfth scale modern miniatures in colours of yellow, teal and cerise including art works, a table, laptop, keyboard and monitor, several ornaments and various cleaning products.And it seems it's heading into life in lockdown. The yellow table is back, and paired with one of the stools I picked up at the 2018 Sydney show, and a radiator I bought for the 2015 HBS Creatin' contest (which isn't moving forward anytime soon... *sigh*).

There's working from home so I needed a monitor, laptop and keyboard (and a mouse: as yet unmade).

Some topic-appropriate artwork, collected from various places across the years (including a magnet I bought at the Wellington Underground Market in 2014 (now closed), and in a city that I'm not sure when I'll next be able to visit, and which I thought I'd be using in quite a different scene (as yet unbuilt...), a wee something from a gift from a friend back in 2015 (are you sensing a theme here?), and a card of another friend's father's artwork).

I added some appropriately-coloured and themed swaps and gifts, and, finally the necessary cleaning supplies. Except I realised that the hand wash didn't really look like sanitiser, and so spent a couple of hours on the sofa that evening looking at tutorials for making miniature hand sanitiser pump packs without coming up with anything that was the right scale, and included items I already had.

So I went to bed.

And an old friend returned. Just after 3am, a thought bubbled into the dream I was having (am I the only one whose dreams are currently more interesting that their real lives?). 

My subconscious reminded me of a piece of canvas I'd completely forgotten that I had: with colours that might work as a mural in the scene: and causing the viewer some more general 'unease' with it.

Even better, it came up with the solution to my hand sanitiser problem: suggesting that a bottle from the perfume bottle set I'd bought as part of the At home with Hello Kitty range could possibly, with some white nail polish and a couple of labels, turn into a bottle of hand sanitiser.

Tiny one-twelfth scale bottel of hand sanitiser held between a very large finger and thumb.And blow me down: it was right. Not only in remembering the tiny bottles, but also, helpfully, reminding me I had a macro lens for my phone, and pointing me to where it was!

So my Sunday involved rooting out forgotten treasures, making some ever-so-important-in-these-times hand sanitiser, and, finally, finishing the chair that started the whole thing...

One-twelfth scale modern miniature chair kit with many clamps holding the edges together.(Which doesn't look so bad...)

Plus (unexpectedly and quite pleasingly) starting to move some things around from where they landed when I first shifted in, to places that make more sense for how I'm using them!

Thursday, August 06, 2020

The kit with no instructions

I'm not actually sure when I was given this slipper chair kit by Adelaide Cann of Adelaide's Miniatures, but I suspect it was probably over five years ago at the surprise birthday workshop she threw at Div's.
Aerial view of a 1/12 scale miniature cardboard chair kit, spread out to look like a game of Tetris.
It's been sitting in stash ever since, and one of its biggest issues is a lack of instructions. (If I'd been given any verbal guidance at the time I've long forgotten it).

But in my constant effort to sort out the studio I'd stumble across this op-shopped treasure, which suggested it might work rather well with the parking sign I bought on my last trip to New Zealand (Oh, in those halcyon days just before travel restrictions came into place!)
Package of rolled fabric pieces with coordinating felt pieces and buttons. On the pack is a price tag that says 'Vinnies $4'
And I decided that it was worth giving it a crack as the potential negatives were so low (financially at least) and the positives so high (a new scene!)

I thought I started well, although commented on Instagram that I was at this stage where I don't know if this is going to be brilliant or a complete disaster...1/12 scale cardboard chair kit with fabric attached and a glue bottle weighing it down while drying.
Turns out, after further gluing today, that I'm lurching dangerously close to a disaster.1/12 scale cardboard chair with fabric glued in. It is obvious that the fabric won't cover the sides of the chair adequately.
So I've abandoned things for now to let my poor (overloaded by work) brain time to come up with a brilliant solution that works within the small amount of fabric I have.

In the meantime, I'd decided that this piece required a scene. Which required a keyboard.

Which I only have one of, in the wrong colours (and in the wrong operating system).

A quick text to my local miniature shop indicated that such a thing would be some weeks away, so I went with option B: printing one myself.
1/12 scale miniature computer keyboard held between a thumb and a finger.
It may not be perfect but I think it'll work for now...

Monday, August 03, 2020

Attempting it again in August...

After the spectacular (in my mind at least: I suspect no one else much noticed) failure of my May miniature challenge, at the end of last month I finally thought I should try another approach.

It's a nice mix of supportive and caring ('I know it's been a draining couple of years and you keep saying you don't have the brain space for minis, or find your 'new' studio easy to navigate, but perhaps by making some time to make something you'll feel better and finally start settling in?'), and my usual hard line and logical ('And if you don't actually start to use some of this stuff, perhaps we need to consider getting rid of it!')

And so on the weekend I figuratively locked myself in the studio: firstly unearthing my cutting mat and the chair in front of it,
Cutting board, container of crafting tools and container of clamps viewed from above

and shoving stuff into the cupboard ('My what a lot of treasures you've amassed!'),  then dismantling and putting away most of The Sailor's Daughter and dusting off the remaining empty space.

I even worked out how to pull apart the IKEA mini shipping container that was sitting next to it, making more room for future possibilities (which may just include its return, if I decide to attack it with my tin snips rather than look into laser-cutting options...)

After all that excitement, past failures, and realising that I'm once again very rusty, I decided to approach things very gently.

There's making scenes. And there's making miniatures. Perhaps I should focus on the latter this time, rather than the former. Yes, I'll end up with just the same amount (if not more) stuff in the studio, but at least it's completed and not grumbling at me from the cupboard, and just perhaps starting with the latter will kick the former into action.

And so, on Saturday I started with this,
One twelfth scale miniature book kit of a circus procession next to a cutting knife and a ruler
figuring that since I didn't remember where the kit came from I wouldn't care to much if it came to nothing,
By the end of the day I had a handful of completed projects
A hand covered with a selection of one twelfth scale miniature books and magazines
(none of which, you may note, is the book kit that started the whole approach).

Since my focus was on kits made of paper, I also made these: from a kit I received in the goody bag from the 2015 AMEA convention.
Finger with a one-twelth scale playing card on it. Behind the finger, on the work area, are the rest of the pack of cards and a pair of fine scissors
(Giggling as I spent way too much time making sure that the card corners weren't square...)

At that stage I hoped quietly that I'd managed to find and recapture my mini mojo....

Friday, May 01, 2020

Just parking this here

Hand holding up a vintage plastic parking sign
I've been feeling a bit envious reading all the social media posts from people who have been home over the past month or so, with lots of free time to deep dive into projects.

Then I feel conflicted as I remind myself how fortunate I am to have a job. And a job I can do from home. But which often leaves me brain dead by the time I clock off for the day.

So I decided that I should attempt a challenge: but with all the other stresses caused by the current situation, make it as low-pressure as I possible.

It's called 'May be miniatures'. It's May. I'll try to do something miniature-related each day, but I'm sure as hell not going to beat myself up if I don't, or the lighting's crap because it's dark by the time I finish whatever it is that I plan to create that day so my photos aren't great.

Yep, this is going to be the loosest challenge I can come up with. Perhaps you'll hear from me tomorrow. Or perhaps I'll decide what I need to do is stay burrowed under the doona (duvet), keep warm, and read. We'll see...

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Minis in a mad world

It was only two weeks ago, but I feel very fortunate to have made it to New Zealand (and back!) on a trip to visit The Parental Units and New Zealand friends.

I hadn't intended to come back with minis, as I was aware of the fact that I've not been doing much recently, but things just... happened.

Here's my haul: a mix of gifts, op-shopped finds and discount-store discoveries.
Flat lay of various 1/12 scale miniature items including an oak coffee table, peruvian pots, pallets, road signs, and puffy stickers.
First the gifts, and one particularly precious one. Friend Miggs gave me the oak side table she made back in the 90s,
1/12 scale miniature oak coffee table with inlaid top and curved botttom.
with its beautifully inlaid top,
Top of an inlaid  1/12 scale miniature oak coffee table.
along with her collection of vintage miniature pottery from Peru,
Six peruvian miniature pots.
and a set of miniature pallets she found in her local tip shop.
Stack of pallet coasters in packaging.
I've always admired the table, and will treasure it. Hopefully sometime soon I'll make a particularly special scene to display it in.

From one of my favourite Wellington shops, I picked up this weathered bird cage, and a lighthouse and letter A charm.
1/12 scale miniature aged birdcage with lighthouse and letter A charms.
From Uncle Bills [sic], some puffy stickers,
Puffy stickers with various architectural designs.
and from various op shops around the region, what can only be described as 'some weirdly random bits' that spoke to me.
Toy '100 km/h' and 'P 30 m' signs, small enamelled frame and tear drop earrings.
I managed to slip back into the country six hours before self-isolation became mandatory for anyone entering, which means instead of being forced to loll round at home for 14 days reading books and playing with miniatures, I've been working there instead.Just to be on the safe side. I felt better about the whole thing when my role was declared 'critical', as I'm working on national COVID-19 related stuff (she says enigmatically).

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Fourteen: reasons to not have been blogging

Oh good grief, it's blogiversary time again. How did that happen so fast?

I had all the good intentions in the world to continue with the blogging habit I'd restarted with Daily Dolls' House December 2019, but it would seem that life had a different plan.

Here's what's happened since I last blogged...

1. Workwise, we've been mogged (and no this does not mean we've all been given cats, nice as that would be) which has meant much uncertainty as two government departments become one.

2. It's been crazy hot While my new* place usually copes much better than my old one, when it's over 40 °C (104 °F) , even the 'cool' breeze I get is not really cool at all.

3.There's the bushfires in the ACT and the surrounding regions, which haven't (yet) affected me directly, but the smoke and uncertainty most certainly have.
Maquette of the Angel of the North sculpture against a smokey Lake Burley Griffin.
4. I bought a new bookshelf for my studio, second hand.

5. And a desk (new, but deeply discounted).Both of which meant moving stuff out of the studio, and them back in again...
IKEA white bookshelf and desk.
6. Then there was The Hail Storm.
Hillside covered in hail stones, with stairs leading upwards. At the top of the stairs stands a man.
Close up of a car windscreen covered in cracks.
7. Which killed Miss Daisy.
White car with black daisies on it being mounted onto a tow truck.
8. Who, because of the massive number of claims, sat in the car park opposite work for quite some time. Without a back window. And perfectly positioned for me to check her wellbeing several times a day from our work kitchen.
Car with a smashed back window.
9. In the meantime, I bought a scooter.
Black Vespa scooter in front of a white car with black daisies on it.
10. My first in 14 years.

11. So I needed to relearn how to ride.

12. Several months ago I'd noticed my shower was leaking through the wall, so I'd booked my fix-it man in to sort it out, and his first available spot was February.

13. This means that, over the past week, on top of everything else,my ensuite has been pulled apart.
Wall with render and brick showing on it.
14. And is being slowly put back together.
Shower wall with tiles pulled off and render, both old and new, showing.
Shower floor with new small square white tiles and walls covered with blue waterproofing membrane.
 So there you are:14 reasons I've not been blogging.

*And I'l leave you with a question:
At what stage does my now 18-month old flat become not 'new'? Is it like relationships, where it apparently takes one year to get over every five?