Thursday, May 30, 2024


 Back in January, when I went in search of Miniverse Lifestyle balls, I joined a Facebook buy, sell and swap group in the hopes of completing my collection faster, and at a lower price than buying the balls retail.

And once I'd completed my collection, I decided to stay on so I'd be alerted if more items were released (which have been, but I'm only interested in a couple of the pieces so am holding off making a decision until I see if they're released in Australia).

Yesterday someone posted in the group about a new home series by a different company, Mini Brands, and based on their photos I was intrigued, especially as someone else posted that they were mainly 1/12 scale.

Some research last night caused me to stare into the fridge and pantry, decide I could sacrifice some of next week's grocery budget, take an early (and long) lunch break today to scoot down the hill to Kmart and buy a couple of the balls to see for myself if the series was as good as it looked.

I bought 3 balls, feeling a bit adrift as there were no cheat sheets that I could find to indicate what was in them, so had to be content with some gentle shaking to make sure they all sounded different.

Surprise number one was that each ball contained 5 sealed bags: as a blind-ball beginner when I started buying Miniverse, I'd assumed that all balls contained just one thing. This made the $12 cost much more palatable as, divided by 5, each mini cost just $2.40.

Surprise number 2 (as I hit my one and only duplicate across all 15 items in 3 balls), was that there seemed to be no rhyme nor reason for what was included in each ball. Again, having started with Miniverse, I'd assumed there was a theme.

Surprise number 3 was how well-made and detailed the items in my balls were for the price. And here I have to confess that I didn't think to take detailed photos while I still had light, especially as several items came in boxes that included the standard custom-designed packaging you see in full-sized appliance boxes: I hope to get to that tomorrow.

And not really a surprise, but a disappointment especially as one of the options was a Poäng chair and footstool, the furniture pieces I got weren't 1/12 scale.

Here's what my 3 balls got me (and how they're described in the accompanying leaflet: I do like that they give you an idea of how often the items might turn up):

Ball 1

Masterchef frying pan (Ultra rare: not bad for the first cab off the rank, and might be useful for next year's club project)

Cupcake pan (common, good scale)

Ice tray with ice (common, good scale)

Shell armchair (rare, feels like 1/24 scale, which pleases a friend I offered it to greatly)

One-twenty fourth scale modern miniature armchair with shell-like back, held in a hand.

Egg carton (common, good scale).

One-twelfth scale carton of eggs displayed on a hand.

Ball 2

Small cupboard (luxury, feels like 1/24 scale but I suspect I can use it as desk-top storage)

One-twenty fourth scale modern miniature cupboard held between 2 fingers.
KitchenAid food processor (ultra rare, looks like it's good scale)
Bar chair (common, 1/24 scale but perhaps I can do something with it?)
Egg carton (common, good scale: my first and only repeat)
Garbage bin (rare, probably 1/24 scale but could work as a small bin in 1/12).

Ball 3

KitchenAid Espresso machine (ultra rare, 1/12 scale and I am swooning over the fact that not only is the packaging showing like it's recycled, the tamper and jug are included in separate packaging when you open the box)
Air diffuser (common, 1/12 scale)
Black and Decker iron (rare, good 1.12 scale)
Makeup stool (ultra rare, definitely 1/24 scale)
Sistema bento lunch box (rare, 1/12 scale and makes my little Kiwi heart happy to see a New Zealand company included in an international product)
One-twelfth scale modern miniature bento box held between 2 fingers.
My final reaction?

Oh my lord: I wanted to leap back onto Mickey and head back down the hill to buy the rest of the box at Kmart.

Then I had a stern talking to myself about being responsible apparently-old person (according to my work), and having insurance on my scooter which means that I can't take it out more than twice a week on average, and maybe I had beginner's luck, and they might still be there next pay day and then perhaps I could survive on beans and rice for a few weeks, Or months.

Oh dear.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

What's cooking

Just before the Christmas break I was at the Reject Shop stocking up on something (laundry powder? dishwashing liquid? small bags of cashew nuts?) when I spotted the most adorable (and I don't often use that word) little fry pan with a Quant-inspired black and white daisy pattern printed on it.

I was desperate to bring it home but couldn't justify it as I have no need for a little fry pan, mainly because I already have a perfectly excellent Tefal one that I use regularly.

I'd occasionally pine after it (possibly a bit more than I thought, as a friend I was visiting in New Zealand ended up saying "Just buy it already: it's only $14!").

As I suspected would happen, I gradually forgot about it, especially as other exciting acquisitions entered my life.

Until this month's mini club meeting, that is, when the discussion turned to the theme for next year's club show and the idea of creating scenes in fry pans. And I remembered my love for that little black and white daisy fry pan.

A search on the Reject shop website didn't show it as in stock anymore and I resigned myself to it becoming the next swan lamp in my life: a missed opportunity that I'd regret until one day in the future one would pop up in an op shop: in this case probably well after I needed it.

But (and I'm sure by now you know where this is going!) since I took an early mark today to head down to the scooter shop to get my back rack installed (and there's a story for another day, involving a rack from Toto, the Vespa I bought in the late 80s, which followed me from one country to another, then onto Felix, my next Vespa, into the garage and then to a friend, only to return home almost a decade later to be mounted onto Mickey and make me very happy indeed) I took the time to pop into the Reject Shop on the off chance they still had them in stock.

They did.
Small non-stick frying pan with a graphic mod daisy print on the outside
So I bought one. Slightly terrified that this project will also go the way of several other projects that are downstairs in the workshop, abandoned and crying in the corner.

But I have thoughts: particularly as I'd been discussing with a colleague several weeks ago the idea of creating a miniature cafe called 'Whoopsie Daisy', kind of like Karen's diner, but with circus- and gymnastics-trained wait staff who are constantly seeming to almost drop things, fall over and break things (but recover just in time, of course!).

Perhaps I should scale back a bit and just do a black and white, daisy-themed cafe. Which would be an interesting challenge in such a constrained and oddly-shaped space.

And, if all else fails, I could just add it to my pot drawer on the off chance I need to cook something really really small 😉.

Friday, May 10, 2024

When Finish it off Friday turns into Frustration Friday

I was feeling all smug like before lunch, imagining how happy I'd feel after I completed the dark academia study, taken the necessary pictures and put the contents away, leaving a nice clean work table to start my next project.

Alas, by the time my lunch break ended, the scene looked like this:
One-twelfth scale modern miniature dark academia study scene with the window fallen off the wall and onto the lounge chair, a globe and pot plant scattered on the floor and an artwork hanging by one corner.
Guess I know what I'm doing tomorrow, then.

Thursday, May 09, 2024

My poor tired brain is trying to be helpful

You'll recall I mentioned looking for my decanter on Tuesday.

Well, I've had no luck finding it so far (and, alas, the current weather isn't quite up to a scoot down to see James and buy a new one from him: it's times like this that I do miss having a car), and am starting to wonder if it is in fact imagined.

But my poor tired brain is trying ever so hard to be helpful.

First, and fairly easily, it found me this, which I'd made from a Trash to treasure kit given to me back in 2015:

(Which, granted, could work in a pinch if I dig out something suitable for a stopper).

Next try was this lamp shade, in my stash box of clear and white decor accessories:
One-twelfth scale modern miniature rounded 'cut glass' lampshade.
Which was much closer to what I remembered my decanter looking like, but not it (the fact it's in this box means I must have used it in a scene at some stage but trying to remember which one or when will, I fear, cause my brain to cease up and close down: so no link).

 Then this morning at stupid o'clock it poked me and whispered "I think I know where it is!" (damned brain still hasn't been trained to keep civilised hours).

And so, when I had the chance, I went to investigate. And found this where it told me it'd be, in the box full of the contents of my Triang 55 house:
One-twelfth miniature 'cut glass' lightshade in a container of vintage dolls' house miniature accessories
Which is excellent remembering, but still not what I'm looking for.

I hate it when I lose things. Especially when I'm not actually sure they existed in the first place. Perhaps I need to decide that my academic has been diagnosed with gout and therefore has had to give up drinking so has hidden the decanter away?

Wednesday, May 08, 2024

A framing frenzy

 My stash drawer reorganisation worked a treat and I was able to place my hands on both my stash of overhead-projector film and my container of small white card scraps within seconds of opening the drawer, which pleased me greatly.

And meant that I could spend my lunchtime framing rather than finding:

Selection of one-twelfth scale framed pictures propped up against furniture in a dark academia study scene.
I approached the framing a bit differently to how I usually doing it, using washi tape to hold things in place rather than my usual approach of gluing a sheet of thin brown paper bag over the back.

Back if a one-twelfth scale framed picture, showing washi tape used to hold the picture in place.
This means that the framing isn't permanent and I can easily swap in a different picture for a future scene that I need the frame for. Hopefully this approach will hold together once I attach them to the wall with Blu Tack...

The butterfly picture missed out on the framing for now, as I spray painted the metal frame black: and alas made a whoopsie which I'll need to correct before I can use it.
One-twelfth scale metal picture frame spray painted black, on the piece of baking paper used as a backdrop for the painting.
But it's too cold to spray paint now, so that'll have to be a job for tomorrow lunchtime.

Tuesday, May 07, 2024

A productive lunch break

During today's (half-hour) lunchbreak, I not only made and ate lunch (wholegrain noodles with Thai-green-curry tuna and stir fry veges, if you're interested) but also found an extra sheet of the scrapbooking paper I'm using on the walls of the dark academia study, which gives me the option to extend the build further along one wall or add a third wall if I feel the need (although if I add another wall I fear I will be setting myself up to have to create a wall of filled bookcases).

I also sorted through the images I chose yesterday, and through my drawer of empty frames to match up some likely candidates:
Selection of one-twelfth scale miniature frames with pictures placed inside them
Which means next on my list is testing if my stash drawer reorganisation worked well enough for me to quickly place my fingers on my stash of overhead projector sheets to use as glass, and venturing down to the garage to spray paint that silver frame for the butterflies.

Then deciding if my windows (yes, they're staying) need curtains (or if they need to be cut into the wall so I can use them to pull as much light into the scene as possible).

And who lives here? I'm thinking semi-retired academic with wide-ranging interests across the natural world, the arts and history. And a taste for whiskey, once I've found my decanter...

Monday, May 06, 2024

Questions, questions

I finally asked myself my standard 'Who lives here?' question for this scene at lunchtime today, which caused me to wonder and ponder as I sorted through my art stash to find items that that person might chose for their walls, then set them out for further scrutiny and decision making:

One-twelfth scale modern miniature study scene with a range of items of miniature art set out neatly in front of it.
A range ofone-twelfth-sized items of miniature art set out neatly on top of a wooden floor and a turkish rug..
I also pulled out some blue items to try, as I mentioned last week,
One-twelfth scale modern miniature study scene with a range of items of decor on a coffee table in front of it.
and found myself trying out some windows (which I last used back in December 2020, with a different background in them).
One-twelfth scale modern miniature study scene with long windows on each side of a writing desk.
Which lead me to wonder if it needed a fireplace as well:
One-twelfth scale fireplace surround displayed on a turkish rug
Oh dear: I seem to have asked myself more questions than I answered today!

Sunday, May 05, 2024

A knitting emergency, with cake

(Alas only miniature)

Recently-started knitting project on double-pointed needles with a stitch marker made of a miniature cake with a slice taken out of it.
At mini club a friend arrived with dark grey fingerless gloves on her hands: not knitted, but something that looked more like fabric gardening gloves with the fingers cut off.

"Oh" she said "I hurt my hands and I've been told to keep them warm. But I hate these".

It just so happened that I'd stopped off at Lincraft on the way to club to buy some nicely-discounted machine-washable wool to knit some lounge socks for Mum, so pulled out my purchases and asked if she liked any of the colours, as I'd decided she needed some nice hand-knitted wristwarmers instead.

She picked the variegated, so I cast on last night when I got home (choosing a suitable stitch marker, of course!), and finished them off just after lunch this afternoon.

She lives in the next suburb over but has headed up to Sydney today on a day trip to visit the Sydney miniatures and dolls house fair, so I dropped them into her mail box for her to find when she gets home.

And that, dear reader, is why there were no minis happening around here today.

Saturday, May 04, 2024

In a tangle

 Today was mini club. And the workshop was a macrame plant hanger.

'How hard can it be?', I thought.

Much harder than I imagined it would seem, even for someone who remembers the 70s and Golden Hands magazine.

Flatlay including several colours of twine, printed instructions for a miniature macrame plant hanger and various items to complete the kit.
It all seemed easy enough: although I was confronted by the fact that the smaller-scale version only came in red.
Instructions for a one-twelfth scale miniature macrame plant hanger, with the hanger pinned to a styrofoam board next to it.
Then I was faced with a yarn octopus...
Instructions for a one-twelfth scale miniature macrame plant hanger, with the hanger pinned to a styrofoam board next to it with the yarn separated out.
some knotty problems,
Instructions for a one-twelfth scale miniature macrame plant hanger, with the hanger pinned to a styrofoam board next to it with the yarn knotted together.
and, finally, and hopefully
A one-twelfth scale miniature macrame plant hanger in progress, with the hanger pinned to a styrofoam board with the yarn knotted together.
something that resembles
One-twelfth scale miniature macrame plant hanger in progress,  pinned to a styrofoam board with many knots.
a plant hanger?
Hand holding up a completed one-twelfth scale modern miniature plant hanger in front of the tools used to make it.

I need to shove a plant pot in it and see if I made the correct number of knots. And process the realisation that my eyes are getting old 😒

Friday, May 03, 2024

Decision made

One-twelfth scale modern miniature dark academia study with vintage writing desk and chair, with a small filing cabinet next to it piled with books.
I think this is the paper I'll go with for the dark academia study.

If so I'll need to introduce some more decor with the rug colours into it.

What do you think?

Thursday, May 02, 2024

The universe has spoken, and progress has been made

Little did I realise when I was blogging yesterday evening about how I was tossing up if I should try to go to the Sydney show this weekend and possibly sneak up to Hornsby to visit Daiso, that Daiso had just posted this on their Facebook feed:
Screenshot of a Facebook post announcing the Daiso is opening in Canberra in June 2024.
Well blow me down!

Although I've been wishing and hoping for it for many years, I never expected it to actually happen: and the fact that it's the nearest mall to me is just icing on the (early birthday) cake!

But back to the here and now.

Today I was mindful of the light issue, and made sure to set most of my lunch break aside to do something for today's post.

I pulled the dark academia build out of the corner of the worktable where it's been gathering dust since mid March, and as I did so spotted the fabrics I'd bought at the Canberra show that same month.
One-twelfth scale dark academia study scene in a state of disarray.

Which got me thinking: perhaps the issue was I'd been testing the build with plain black walls, which isn't what I intended the end result to be.

So I clipped one of the pieces of fabric up to the wall and took a test shot.
One-tweltfh scale modern miniature dark academia study with a piece of patterned fabric clipped to the wall behind a writing desk and chair
Which was interesting enough that I dived into my scrapbooking paper stash and ferreted around for some other likely options:
One-twelfth scale modern miniature study with various wallpaper options clipped behind a chest of drawers and Eames armchair.
(which, thanks to the crap light in my studio* even in the middle of the day aren't reading quite right: the left 2 are black and the other 3 are more antique gold than yellow).

By this time it was time to log back on for the afternoon, so I left them clipped up so I can wander past and ponder, then start to weed the options.

Although perhaps that process should also be informed by how much of each pattern I have available...

*Or maybe I need to have a stern talk to my phone and see if I can convince it to take better pictures?

Wednesday, May 01, 2024

May be minis (again)

I've been stalking Instagram over the past week or so, hoping that there'll be another May mini makers challenge this year: with no luck so far (and I assume if there was one planned for this year it would have already been announced).

So I guess I'm on my own, unless you know of another May mini challenge?

Alas the day escaped me, and it wasn't until the light was disappearing (oh so terribly early it seemed) that I thought that I should probably have planned this whole thing through a bit more.

The good news is that I did do something miniature-related today: after spying some Daiso dolls' house furniture that I hadn't seen before pop up on Facebook Marketplace, I took a longer lunch to scoot over to pick 2 sets of it up from the buyer.

And I did take some photos, but only (or so I thought at that stage) to share with my fellow Daiso-obsessed friend, planning to take better ones to blog after I logged off work for the day.

But I got a call from a client a few minutes before I'd planned to log off, and by the time we were done it was too late to catch the light.

So please excuse the au-naturel pics!

These were the sets I bought, minus the coffee tables that the seller forgot to pack, and which I'll pick up next time I'm out:
2 sets of one-twelfth scale modern miniature plastic sofas and chairs.
Daiso-obsessed friend asked if they looked good in person, or if it was a waste of time her going to Daiso on the weekend to see if they had them in stock in Wellington.

(As someone whose nearest Daiso is 3 and a half hours away, of course I replied that going to Daiso was never a waste of time!)

So I sent her some close-up photos to help her make her mind up:
2 one-twelfth scale modern miniature 2-seater sofas next to each other: a leather one on the left and a slightly smaller plastic one on the right.
pointing out that they were smaller than standard, but that makes sense: they're similar to those cheap Kmart ones (or, indeed the very cheap ALDI ones that I still have in pieces in my workshop).
One-twelfth scale modern miniature plastic armchair with a doll sitting in it, in front a similarly-styled sofa
and that corporate Wendy looked comfy enough in one.

Finally I sent her a picture of the bottom and back of it, showing the tabs holding it together, and mentioned that it looks like pulling them apart to flock and/or paint looks doable:
Upside-down one-twelfth scale modern miniature plastic armchair, showing the tabs that hold the pieces together.
In other miniature-related news, the Sydney miniatures and dolls house fair is on this weekend, and my local miniature club is arranging carpooling up to it.

I haven't gone since 2018, as to travel there and back, or to buy anything much was hard to justify with my voracious offset account, the location made it difficult to do a day trip on public transport, and, of course, there was that little matter of a global pandemic that got in the way.

I'm still tossing up if I want to spend 7 hours in a car with people I don't know well out of curiosity to see the new venue (and be tempted to add Daiso Hornsby, just one stop up the train line from the venue, to the list of Daisos I have visited).

Mini club meeting is this Saturday: perhaps I'll leave it to chance and see if anyone mentions that they still have a spare seat in their car...