Friday, January 08, 2021

Finish it off Friday: sofa so good

 It's the end of my first week back at work, and I'm easing in quite nicely so far. 

It helps that I'm still working from home full time (oh how I love working from home, how much more I achieve here, and how sad will I be if I'm ever forced back into the office full time again!), and that the temperature is still nicely comfortable for me so my brain is still sprightly and firing on all cylinders at the end of the day.

And so, as the week drew to a close I started considering the idea of a second Finish it off Friday for the year: the sofa from day 28 of Daily Dolls' House December that got put to one side.

Aerial view of a plastic container holding a half-made one twelfth modern miniature sofa, with various components to finish it surrounding the container: double-sided tape, spare fabric, foam and pins for feet.
And perhaps even venturing out to buy some replacement fusible webbing now the Christmas craziness at the shops has died down...

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Daily Dolls' House December 2020: round up and musings...

After completing the final scene for this year's Daily Dolls' House December challenge, I had the urge to collate all the images, and then decided to make a bookmark (something I've not done since 2011: which has to be a good sign, I think...)

Montage of 31 one twelfth scale modern miniature scenes
I started my Daily Dolls' House December challenges back in 2013, and have managed to complete them for 5 of the years since. (2014's challenge fell over because I was also editing The tiny Times and working in a toxic role, both of which sucked my time and brain space away halfway through the month, and I didn't attempt 2015 (as I was exhibiting and, again, editing) or 2018 (shifting!)

When I started the challenge this year I was wondering if it was worth doing it at all. But it ended up being surprisingly easy (even if I moaned a bit at times about the added challenge of incorporating the date).

Of course, working from home made it easier during the first third of the month, as I had more time to commit to the challenge (and the luxury of being able to prep at lunchtime if necessary).

And the rest of the consequences of the whole COVID times helped a lot too, as once I was off work for the year (a week earlier than usual because I wasn't able to make my usual second trip to New Zealand this year so had that week's leave up my sleeve), there was very little enticing me from my studio.

I now get my groceries delivered (for $2!) rather than visiting the supermarket and dealing with the crazy too-close people. Although I can go op shopping if I want to, it's more stressful than it's worth dealing with the other shoppers and the staff who seem to have completely forgotten that physical distancing is still a thing. (Besides, with much less room than I used to have and way more stash than I need there's very little reason to go op shopping anyway...)

Gallery hopping or movie going are currently also on my More trouble than they're worth list.

Which left me in the perfect position to happily lock myself away in the studio.

And my initial moaning about incorporating dates changed it's tune once I realised that having that parameter gave me some boundaries: on days where I needed to create a fresh scene, I knew in advance so could do some prep work beforehand. And once the scene was made (photographed, blogged, Instagrammed, Facebooked and FLICKRed), that was it for the day.

Similarly, if I already had something lined up for the day's post that left me free to do other things.

I found it liberating in an odd sort of way: there were times when I'd finish a scene, prepare the already-lined-up post for the next day and have a sense that I was 'free' for 48 hours: and then end up spending that time doing a deep sort and cull of stuff I haven't touched in years.

So although at first I thought this year's challenge tougher, it ended up being easier as once I'd hit my mark I could focus elsewhere for a predetermined time.

And speaking of predetermined time: at some stages of the challenge I felt like I was back in the newspaper world, where once the issue went to bed there was nothing more you could do with it. In previous years I could carry something over to the next day, but this year I 'had' to have a scene blogged before midnight (or, more accurately, 9 pm bedtime). This meant there were a few times where I was tempted to redo something but had to pull myself up and remind myself that done was better than perfect, and I would probably be the only person who noticed the mistake.

And the weather's helped a lot: it's been a cool summer which means my brain (and Blutack) haven't dissolved into a sticky mess.

Now it's over for another year: how do I feel?

The word I've been using a lot when people have asked how my break was over the first few days back at work is 'recalibrated'. I also feel chuffed that I finished another challenge, and rather pleased with some of the outcomes.

So yeah. Defeat is not an option. At least not this year.

I'm also hopeful that I can find time in my weeks to include some mini making and blogging: but I seem to recall I say pretty much the same thing in those first glorious days of each year, and then as various obligations and distractions start building back up, things fall to pieces again.

Perhaps with the variety of external distractions much reduced this year (for the foreseeable part of it at least), and another year of settling in to smaller quarters behind me, it'll be different.

We'll see.

Friday, January 01, 2021

Finish it off Friday

I have a rather long post about my Daily Dolls' House December 2020 challenge in production, but thought I'd spend some time this morning returning to another 'challenge': Finish it off Friday.

This week I finally completed the magazines and records I printed out at the beginning of last month for my two tone dance party.

One twelfth scale modern miniature scootering and mod magazines next to a plastic crate containing a collection of records. A few are on the ground in front of the crate and a full-sized hand is pulling one out of the crate
Which made me a bit sad, as I sold all my records before I moved in here because I didn't have the space to keep them...

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

P 30m

Recycling this image from back in August because it's still very relevant (in fact as I type this I realise I've not been further than the top of the drive for over a week!), and means I have the whole day to try and sort out the complete disaster zone that is my studio and library after this year's challenge, and before the new year.

One-twelfth scale modern miniature scene of a yellow dining table set up as a home office, with monitor, laptop and keyboard, cordless phone, and a sandwich and bag of chips.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Monday, December 28, 2020

Mental trickery on day 28

Today's theme picture had pretty much been set from the beginning, as I bought myself a David Frazer wood engraving as a flat-warming present, which just happened to include the number 28 in it:

Packet of fish and chips, glass of sparkling shiraz and a framed wood engraving on a table.
After I finished yesterday's scene, I printed a version out (much larger than life scale-wise, as that was the only way the number would be seen in the miniature version), and figured I'd just need to smash together either a shelfie or a miniature version on the photo above to hit the target.

Alas, my brain had other ideas. You see, yesterday was traditionally Vacuum under things day: that one day a year where I make sure I vacuum under the fridge. The sofa. The lounge rug (the bed gets done twice a year, but one of those is also on Vacuum under things day). And by the time I'd finished making the scene, tidying away afterwards and doing the usual basic housework, no vacuuming was achieved.

I consoled myself that I still had plenty of time to catch up, and it was a self-imposed tradition anyway so it could be done between new year and back to work.

But this morning, as I drank my morning cup of tea, my devious sneaky weasel-life brain suggested I finally make the miniature version of my sofa to add to the scene: something I've been vaguely wanting to do since I recreated my (now gone) dining room sideboard in miniature back in 2008, and especially after I saw Mitchymoo Miniatures' instructions for making a sofa back in 2011.

There were a few problems to start with. Mitchymoo Miniature's instructions suggest I use a garden kneeler to make the cushions. Which would be fine in normal times, but at the moment I don't think it's worth heading out into the world just to buy padding for a miniature sofa. I also thought I had some balsa wood that could be used for the frame but after much burrowing through boxes in the workshop, came up empty-handed. Once again, I could scuttle down the hill to Bunnings for supplies but it's not worth it.

The good news is I found a roll of foam stuff I'd bought for landscaping on my never-completed HBS Creatin' Contest 2015 entry, which I hoped would work for the cushions.

Luckily, Mitchymoo suggested foam board as an alternative for the sofa, and I knew I had some of that in the studio, as I picked up two packs of mat board and foam core offcuts from our local framing store last year. I just had to find the fabric I bought for just this project...

But first, I needed to measure the sofa. And this is where the depth of my brain's devious sneaky weaselness because clear. Because to measure the sofa, I needed to shift it out. And if it was out anyway, then I may as well vacuum under it, vacuum it and flip the cushions. And to move it out I needed to move the rug. So it made sense to just vacuum under there too...

So I vacuumed. And measured. And calculated. Made a pattern. And turned my fabric tub upside down (so much for tidying up the library!)
Cutting board with a length of nubbly brown fabric, two pieces of foam core board, a pattern for a miniature sofa, a cutting knife and a one twelfth scale framed art work.
cut some bits out
Several pieces of foam core cut out and placed together in the shape of a modern sofa. In the foreground are some pattern pieces, a cutting knife and a steel ruler.
and then noticed something strange about the backs of the offcuts.
Several pieces of foam core board on a cutting board with guide line markings on them.
Blow me down, they had adhesive backings: perfect for what I needed!

So I peeled enough back to stick the layers together, making sure that I kept one unpeeled on the top (or outside, for the arms),
Four pieces of foam core set p in a gluing jig.
then glued the pieces together, and measured and cut the squab pieces out of my roll of foam (flattening them under a pile of books to straighten them out after I was done).
One twelfth scale modern miniature sofa in a gluing jig, with clamps holding the sides to the back. There are squab pieces cut out of foam inserted into it, and the measurements for the squab pieces worked on on a paper in front.
While I waited for glue to dry and foam to flatten, I pulled out a selection of miniature 'sofa feet' I have tucked away to try and decide which will work best (I prefer the square ones as they are most similar to what I have, but they're too tall, so it may have to be the short domed ones. No need to decide just yet...)
Had holding a small piece of foam core board with various-shaped tacks stuck into the bottom of it. Behind are more of the tacks on a piece of fabric, and a half-made one twelfth scale miniature sofa.
Then I cut the fabric pieces to size, and pulled out the ironing board and iron and steamed the wrinkles out of the pieces,

before switching to my Clover mini iron to fuse the edges (alas I have no idea where my sheets of fusible webbing ended up in the shift, and again wasn't going to head out just to get some. Instead I remembered I has some dodgy IKEA stuff that I'd used to take up my curtains when I moved in and used that instead. Which was a pain in the butt, but free).
Small rectangular lengths of fabric laid out on an ironing board with a steel ruler and a mini quilting iron.
The double-sided tape situation was a bit dire as the only decent stuff I have on hand is 3 mm wide. So I got creative and used a mix of that, and glue to hold the edging down on top of it.
Work table with a half-made one twelfth scale modern miniature couch with clamps holding the fabric into one arm. in the background is a steel ruler, pair of scissors and a fabric cutter.
By this stage it was becoming clear that there wasn't going to be a completed sofa in my scene today, even if I stayed up until just before midnight to get it done (which I wasn't prepared to do as that would lead to dumb mistakes).

So in the spirit of Day 2, I'm going with the 'here's a photo of the accessories I've picked out for the Who lives here game (easy because it's me!) and I'll finish the rest some other day...' approach.
Selection of one-twelfth scale modern miniature accessories arranged around a framed wood engraving. Items include a vintage typewriter, ceramic swan, letter As, wood and felt pears and Vespa ornaments.
And now I have to go and put the lounge back together before I make dinner...