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?

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Weekend green thumb

This was the view of my poor long-ignored ivy kit yesterday evening:
1/12 scale miniature plant kit with bare stems in a plant pot filled with 'soil' on top of a cotton reel, with a packet of air-drying clay to one side and a set of instructions behind.
late this morning: 
1/12 scale miniature plant kit with half bare and half leafy stems in a plant pot filled with 'soil' on top of a cotton reel, with tray of extral leaves on one side and a pair of pliers on the other.
 and, finally, this evening:
1/12 scale modern miniature scene of a wooden mid-cantury modern sideboard with a string of pearls and an ivy plant on top at one end, and three vases in yellow, orange and teal at the other. Above the sideboard is a print of an animal waering a spotty T shirt in the same colours.
I still need to arrange the stems a bit but am happy with the general end result, and even more happy with the fact it's finally done with counting and gluing and can move on to something else!

Saturday, January 11, 2020

It's good to see you again my friend...*

I'd arranged to meet my former colleague/ boss (now friend) this afternoon to visit the Reg Mombassa exhibition at Ambush Gallery in Kambri at ANU (I've had a soft spot for Reg's work, not just because he's a fellow kiwi living in Australia, but because he has a dolls' house in his studio...)

We got a bit lost as neither of us had been there before, and ended up finding a lift that took us straight into the gallery from the plaza.

So it wasn't until we left, via the front entrance, that I spotted something familiar in the foyer below. Raced down the stairs and stopped dead in front of Bette Noir, delighted to see she was being used once again as a publicly-accessible miniature gallery.
Miniature gallery on a stand in a foyer space.
Closeup of an exhibition in a miniature gallery.
Part of an exhibition in a miniature gallery with a paper bird and a sign saying 'How to look at art'.
I felt a bit teary, to be honest, and wondered how long she'd been just up the road from work without me knowing...

And to make the whole thing even weirder, in the blog post from when she arrived into my life, the contract that I'd just started, that was sucking up my energy (and that morphed into my current role), was the one where I first met the colleague/ boss/ friend I was standing in front of her with.

(*It's been a long long time.)

Saturday, January 04, 2020

Well that was tedious

1/12 scale ivy plant kit instructions laid out on a cutting mat alongwith two small white trays holding q total of 245 teeny tiny ivy leaves, arranged neatly in rows.
And not quite 250, but I figure close enough: and having spent all afternoon separating teeny tiny ivy leaves from each other I'm not inclined to go back through each one to find where the other five are hiding.

I need to rest my eyes for a while, and then I'll start putting it all together... (And interestingly enough, so far it's more soporific than scary...)

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Leafing it to the last minute

And so I finish the year, and this year's Daily dolls' house December challenge.

Alas I haven't finished yesterday's kit, but I've opened it up, read the instructions (twice) and sorted out the pieces. Then I started carefully prising the stacks of leaves apart, holding my breath, and being paranoid that I'd accidentally sneeze and blow all the little teeny tiny leaves all over the place, causing me to spend next year trying to hunt them down (the instructions say there are at least 250 of the blighters in there...)
View through a desktop magnifier of a (badly stained hand, holding a miniature ivy leaf with a needle stuc into the side of the leaf. In the background are a set of instructions, several more miniature ivy leaves set out on a tray, and three miniature plant pots.
Today, in the list of yearly tasks, I repotted my work pot plants (and one from my bathroom) ready for another year. They're like hermit crabs, all moving up a size pot each year, and (not like hermit crabs) gradually all ending up in self-watering pots. Alas, it looks like Robert (Palmer: geddit?) is now so big, I may need a hand truck to get him from the car to my desk this next year...
Selection of potted plants grouped on a balcony fllor, next to a half-used bag of potting mix, a couple of empty pots and several stalks of spider-plant pups. In the background is a large pear made from old horseshoes.
But that doesn't explain the state of my hands in the first picture. After exactly a year of many excuses ('Too hot!' 'Too cold!' 'Too worried I'll balls it up!' 'Too difficult to schedule three to four times, exactly twelve hours apart...') I finally realised this morning that if I scheduled staining at 7:30 am and pm over the next couple of days, when the weather was coolish enough to safely stain,  I could possibly get these armchairs' wooden bits stained wenge before I went back to work for the year, and thus assembled, out of the workshop and into my lounge.

(Here they are in my shopping trolley on this day a year ago, when I snapped them up from ALDI for $30 each, marked down from $100, thinking I could try turning them into the frugal version of the IKEA Ekenäset. Which I'd actually bought two of just after I bought the flat, in that 'limited edition might miss out' frenzy, but knowing full well I had three years to return them if I changed my mind. Which I did and I did: partly because spending $600 on armchairs seemed ridiculous, but mainly because I quickly realised that the teaky-coloured wood didn't fit in with the wenge colour I had elsewhere in my lounge.)
Shopping trolley with two ALDI kitset armchairs stacked in it, with several more on the pallet behind it.
Anyway, that's a very long-winded way of saying that I finally plucked up the courage to not only deal with the scariest kit in the whole stash, but also two armchairs that have been sitting around in boxes in the workshop for a year.

So far the prognosis is not looking good, but I remind myself that first coats usually look like shit and to withhold judgement until the third (or fourth) coat is on. And if it's all a disaster, it was a cheap-enough one...

And on that note, I wish you a happy new year: may the best of this year be the worst of next, and may all your pleasures be tiny ones!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Make, do and mend Monday: the scariest kit in the whole stash...

I was out and about this morning: checking the post box, catching up with friends for brunch and popping into IKEA (where I was delighted to find just what I came for in the As Is corner, marked down by 30%. It would seem I not only have a Frugalling Fairy, but I have an As Is Assistant as well, and this is why I always enter IKEA through the exit!).

And since it's only three days until I head back to work for next year, I started on my list of yearly tasks.

So it wasn't until after 3 pm that my mind turned to today's blog post.

'It's Monday, so we can do a make, do and mend.' it suggested. 'Something quick, easy, take a picture of the completed item, up it goes, bang, done, head to the (newly vacuumed with washed cushions) sofa, recline for the afternoon and finish your book.'

'Go on...' it wheedled. 'Only two days of this year's Daily Dolls' House December challenge to go, and the only rule was to blog something miniature related...'

Alas, when I opened the drawer of small kits, I spotted this:
1/12 scale plant kit of ivy, with instructions, leaves, wires and a hand holding an empty terracotta plant pot.
The scariest kit in the whole stash. One that was bought for a house that I sold 23 years ago to pay to move my belongings from New Zealand to Australia.

And suddenly, it seemed like a jolly fine idea indeed to mark the end of Daily Dolls' House December 2019 by confronting my (miniature) demons, and actually having a crack

Who knows? It might turn out to actually be quite easy, and then I can feel like Grover in The monster at the end of this book.

(Either way, as I pointed out to a friend a few days ago about something else, it'll make good blog fodder...)