Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Updated pictures, my miniature Harry Potter Hogsmeade tree is done :)

**Black Friday Deal: use coupon code BLACKFRIDAY during checkout for 15% off from now until November 26th!  http://www.etsy.com/shop/tarayvonne
Offer not good for custom orders though.

Welcome to my new followers :)  Glad to have you around!

Ugh these pictures are perfectly horrid, but nonetheless I'll post them for now until I get new ones tomorrow.  Darn night-time photocube pictures!  They make everything look Gosh-Awful!

Sorry it took me so long, but I've been working on my floors AGAIN.  Have mercy, let them be done soon!  Big floor sander+ million year old hardwood floors+Tara=a huge mess!  I'm still not sure how I wound up getting this tree done in the middle of all this but somehow I prevailed :)  Probably because going upstairs to work on minis is VACATION for me right now :)  Ok ok, I'll zip my lips and show you these ridiculously awful pictures!  Please check back in tomorrow for a clearer view!
**I retook the pictures BUT-it was dark and foggy out this morning so they still aren't that great and only three of them turned out :(  Oh wells, what can you do?

Back view below-

Ok description of what's going on here:
This one is themed to go with the Hogwarts neighboring village of Hogsmeade and is made to be a business sign display for that village. Every business is represented here, which includes a business sign and a display of items related to what that business does or sells :)

Businesses include:

-Zonkos Joke Shop and it's display includes dangling extendable ears
-Gladrags Wizardwear who's items include funky socks and a pretty nightcap hanging from the sign
-Dervish and Banges for whom I have made an interesting cauldron and advanced potion-making guide
-Hogsmeade Post Office which has the owl in a nest who carries the post as well as several mail deliveries waiting to go out :)
-Honeydukes Sweet Shop which has a large climbing chocolate frog , chocolate bars wrapped in the actual candy bar wrapper as seen in the theme park in Florida, a bag of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, and 2 chocolate frog boxes.
-The Hogshead Pub sign features two bottles of butterbeer hanging from the sign as well as a metal tankard mug of questionable cleanliness :)
-The Three Broomsticks has 2 bottles of hand-sculpted pumpkin juice bottles as well as a single butterbeer bottle hanging underneath.
-Madam Puddifoot's Tea Shop is gussied up in frilly style for Hogwarts date nights and outfitted with a lace-covered table top which holds the shop sign, detail painted teapot and cup complete with a lovey-dovey heart floating in the tea :)
-Hogsmeade Station has a train schedule sign with fluttering Hogwarts Express tickets which sparkle in the light like gold :) This is the station where the children get off the Hogwarts Express train and head off to Hogwarts
-and last is Scrivenshaft's Quill Shop who's sign is on the back of the tree with a pot of all different quills, scrolls, and envelopes, and three lovely books in different wizarding subjects.

Beside the tree is a welcome to Hogsmeade sign that I crafted very carefully to look rustic and very well done. It's wood, distressed and clear coated for durability. Below the welcome sign is an arrow sign pointing off to the side with "Hogwarts" on it. Meaning go that direction and you will find Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry :) And I have added Christmas cheer with a greenery swag and candy canes. All of this on a snowy base hand-crafted by me.
The detail is astounding, this is a very elaborate tree with tons of work in it. In person it's incredible! I think it may be the best one I've made yet :)
9 inches tall, roughly 6 inches wide at the base. 1/12 scale outdoor tree.

Available here in my shop:

And now I think you all should see Sherry's (my shop partner and my darling Mother in Law) newest creation, a completely hand-sculpted Marie Antoinette doll and Marie-style furnishings!

This set is currently on it's way to me and will soon be available in my shop for sale :)

Please follow Sherry on the 19th Day Miniatures partner blog:

Friday, November 18, 2011

A little futher along on my Harry Potter Hogsmeade Miniature Tree

I still have a long way to go yet but I have a good start.  I basically have most of the signs up, but I forgot one of them (a quill shop) so I guess it'll have to be around the back of the tree.  I only have a few of the displays done for each of the shops though.  The Hogsmeade Post Office is done, the one with the owl and rolled up scrolls (including a daily prophet newspaper with Harry and Hermoine on the cover).  The Hogshead Pub is done as well, with hanging bottles of butterbeer and a metal tankard for drinking out of.  You might not realize the Hogshead is Aberforth Dumbledore's pub, the brother of Albus Dumbledore.  This pub plays an importamt part in the movie as it was the place where Harry, Ron, and Hermione enter Hogwarts through after all the other secret passages in are blocked off by Professor Snape after he takes over Hogwarts.  Without this pub's secret passage, there would have been no way in and thus no way that Harry could find and kill the last horcruxes.  Anyway, that display is done.  The only other one done right now is the Madame Puddifoot's Tea Shop display.  I made a partial table top, covered it in lace and glued it directly to the side of the tree.  On this I placed the tea shop sign, a detailed painted teapot and cup.  The cup has "tea" in it with a heart floating in it.  This tea shop is billed as an over the top, sickeningly sweet laced-up froofy shop that Hogwarts couples frequent on dates :)  So I froofed up the table setting and added a floating heart to the tea.  I have a partial start on the Zonkos Joke Shop display, I added bright ribbon cut in irregular lengths to the top and some sparkly green shooting stars around the top of the sign.  I suspended the "tricks &jokes" sign that goes with this shop sign just underneath the shop name by chains, and then dangled some extendable ears from the sign.  I'm still trying to decide what else I'll dangle from it.  So that one's not done yet.  These ears are hanging from the ceiling in the real theme park at universal studios as shown below:
and were featured in one of the movies:
so I really wanted to add them in :)
I still haven't started Gladrags Wizardwear yet with it's little funky socks, and all I've got on the Dervish and Banges sign so far is a neat little cauldron.  I'm still unsure what I want to do with that one.  And I have nothing on the Three Broomsticks sign yet.  I know for sure it will also have a single butterbeer bottle as well as two pumpkin juice bottles hanging from it.  I may add on the three little broomsticks around it as well. 
Oh I also forgot I did get the Hogsmeade station one done as well.  All that could be done with it that I could think of was to add on some train tickets to the Hogwarts Express Train.  I put up the fancy schedule sign and made some cute little Platform 9 3/4 tickets to hang around it.  I'll put up the pictures:

Ugh, poor little three broomsticks sign dangling there with nothing on it!
It looks so odd.

Poor little candy-less Honeydukes sign!  It'll have chocolate frog boxes, a frog climbing the top of the sign and other candy around it.

Like I said, so much more to do.  But it's a decent start anyway :)  Gosh these pictures are so horrible due to the wicked wind we have today!  I had to shoot them too fast and they stink :(

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Just a little peak at my newest tree and plans :)

I have a basic start on this, but I wanted to show you the tree itself before I mess around with it too much. I think it's a pretty tree, much taller, thinner, and more majestic than those I have worked with before. Truly an outdoor style of tree this time. All I've added so far is a white garland and an owl sitting in his nest. And the base with snow of course.

The background in this last photo shows the village of Hogsmeade, see how it's all snowy?  This is why this tree has a snowy base and I added a puff of snow to the top of the tree as well.  What I plan to do is use this tree as a advertisement for the businesses of Hogsmeade, with a sign from each place of business and items surrounding it pertaining to what that business sells.  For example, Madame Puddifoot's Tea Shop sign will have tea related items around it.  Honeydukes will have candy of course, Zonkos Joke Shop will have gag items like extendable ears, The Hogs Head will have butterbear bottles, The Three Broomsticks will have pumpkin juice bottles, Gladrags Wizardwear will have crazy little socks hanging from the bottom of the sign (this is where Dobby buys his crazy socks he famously likes to wear when he becomes a free elf in the books), Hogsmeade Station (where the Hogwarts Express drops off the students) will have train tickets, etc.

Here is a quick look at a few of the unfinished business signs:
These will really be tricked out and designed to the best of my ability when I get going on this.  Each sign will be a small display of "related to that shop" items.

Sorry about the crappy pictures but I shot all these inside my photo cube because the wind is wicked outside today :(  Stay tuned to see what I do with this neat little outdoor tree :) 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Miniature Under the Sea Mermaid's Dowry Chest complete :)

First of all, a belated welcome to my newest followers!  Welcome dears!  It's nice to have you around :)

Secondly I know I just blogged yesterday but I got a new piece done and also wanted to explain my next two projects in more detail.

Here's my under the sea themed mermaid's dowry chest I just finished up:

Nothing on this has been left untouched, it's decorated everywhere as though a beautiful mermaid has stashed away her most precious treasures in this secret bejeweled hiding place :) The large gilded sculptural piece on the top of the chest is actually a gorgeous art deco mermaid and flowers done in polymer clay by me. The other things are jewels, shells, pearls, sea plants, beach glass cabochons, metal filigree, sand, glitter, and a sea-washed painted finish I've applied. You won't find another like this anywhere ever again. Inside the chest are a variety of special bottles holding a mermaid's secrets such as mermaid's tears, mermaid's scales, locks of her flowing hair, even a message in a bottle with blank parchment that may be pulled carefully out with tweezers, and you may add on your own secret message for a loved one, etc. Even the inside bottom of the chest is decorated with faux water, pearls, shells, a tiny turtle, stone, and a blue beaded necklace (none of which is removable) and the bottles sit right on top of it and those can be taken out of the chest.

Measurements are as follows: a little over 3 inches tall, 3 1/2 inches wide, and 2 1/4 inches deep.
Available here in my shop:  http://www.etsy.com/listing/86188357/dollhouse-miniature-under-the-sea

And finally, in my excitement over the last installment of the Harry Potter movies that was just released I'm doing a few more HP minis.  I found a taller and more realistic pine tree that looks like one you would find outside and runs somewhere between 8 and 9 inches tall that would be perfect as an outside tree (or just as a free-standing decoration on it's own) that's quite lovely without anything on it.  I don't have a picture yet but I'll get one later when I'm less tired.  I stay up too late working on minis in my only truly free time of my own-night time.  Anyways, it makes me think it would make a truly impressive outdoor Hogsmeade Village tree covered in things from the shops there.  I'm going to do my homework and find out what sorts of things should be included from each shop.  If anyone has any ideas please speak up!  Now that I know how to make fake snow that looks realistic and puffy I'll do the base in snow and make a "Welcome to Hogsmeade Village" sign to go beside it.  I can't wait to show you this neat tree and what I plan to do to it as I go along working on it!  

Also this is sort of strange I guess but I have a mind to try it just to see if I can pull it off.  
Maybe you remember this from the first movie?
This would be Professor Quirrel teaching defense against the dark arts.  See what he's holding?  I'm planning on trying to make a miniature iguana in a Hogwarts style enclosure.  Something that looks as though it would fit right into this dark and somewhat sinister classroom.  I have NO idea if I can do this, so it might not turn out :)  But I'll never know unless I try, right?  Basically the point is to see if I can do a lizard.  I want to try out some animals in the future to see how I do at them when I'm concentrating totally on the animal itself.  Not within the context of a huge amount of work left on the total miniature scene I'm building around it, where I might slack off on how good the animal is in the grand scheme of trying to finish up an elaborate larger piece.  So we'll see if it's worth a crap in the end :)  If not, I guess I'll live to try a different animal in the future!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Series of Miniature Holiday Fireplaces bring in the "cozy" to dollhouses :)

The weather has turned colder here and we've even seen some snow fly!  I personally love this time of year, all tucked in like bears for the winter :)  The only thing is I worry about my loved ones on the roads and also I have a really hard time getting decent pictures inside.  Often I have to gear up and head outside to shoot my pictures anyway.  You'll see a drop in the quality of my pictures most likely :(  Either because they've been shot inside in my photocube or else I was hurrying through my pictures outside because I was freezing!  Either way, no matter how good I make something it'll look worse now :(  Bad pictures make a good miniature look bad too.  Tis the season to freeze or provide crappy pictures.

Anyways, I caught a cold and haven't been working or blogging like usual.  Did I say I loved this time of year?  Ugh, mental!  Hehe.  I've done three different fireplaces for the holidays though, because this time of year makes me wish I had one in my real house!  What could be cozier than a warm fire in a lovely fireplace during a cold winter?  Nothing that I can think of.  So I made three of them in three different styles:  a stylish modern-more adult fireplace, a harvest home fireplace with a pie baking, and a child's theme fireplace with gifts galore :)  I'll shush up and just show you :

The pictures above are of the modern adult fireplace complete with a candy cane martini and icy arrangement that looks like those in high-end stores during the holidays.  There's even a little mouse all wrapped up in Christmas bows and holding a bowed candy cane :)  He's so cute in person!

(Remember my pictures aren't too good right now and these are better in person by far!)

And now the home hearth fireplace:

and finally my favorite, the child's Christmas wish fireplace:

What you can't really see are the tiny cute little gingerbread men cookies and the two signs aren't easy to read in these pictures but are in person.  The one with the cookies reads:  "Dear Santa, We left some cookies for you to eat, so take a break and rest your feet!", and the one above the fire reads:  ""Dear Santa, define good..."
That really reminded me of my own kids, hehe!  I had to put it on because it makes me smile.

These are all available here in my store: 

Up next will be a miniature mermaid chest decorated like a treasure trove and then some more Harry Potter minis in the near future!  If you haven't seen the last movie you have to run out and buy it immediately!  It was epic :) 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Updated with clearer pictures-A Christmas Home for Gnomes, all done :)

I finally got my little gnome cottage finished-wow, I had no idea sculpting a 3 inch tall gnome would be such a challenge!  I changed my mind about his look.  The Christmas gingerbread-style of the house I knew would cause a pot-bellied little white headed guy to look too much like Santa Claus and it would confuse people as to why he was dressed this way and in front of such a cottage as this rustic little thing :)  He would be viewed as some sort of weird Santa.  So instead I opted for a younger man with brown hair and beard who wouldn't be confused with a sleigh-driving cookie addict with a bag of presents :)  Oh man now I'll get coal in my stocking for saying that!  Hehe.  Ayways, I made him and dressed him for the holidays and his hair is tibetan lambs wool.

I covered the house and everything with a thick crust of faux snow, made from a little trick I learned recently.  It's very convincing snow and looks good in person.  I made a little pie for the window sill, dressed the pet goose in a charming little capelet and gnomie hat, added on a pine tree to the side of the house and decorated it to match the style of the cottage, etc.  I don't have a picture of it plugged in and lit up but it's very charming with the light coming through the stained glass-style windows.  I can't take a decent photo inside and can't plug it in outside.  But I can tell you it looks very cute while the lights are on.

This is an upcycled, one of a kind cottage that will never be made again.
My pictures are not that great, as usual.  It's so much nicer in person.

I should have smoothed down his wild hair before taking these pictures :)  Oh well, you know :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What am I up to now? No one Gnomes :)

I'm all about reusing and recycling and making old into new.  I like the challenge of looking at something junky with a good basic shape that could be improved upon and trying to see it in a new way.  I would much rather fix something up than let it go into a landfill.  For instance, once in awhile I check out what's in my local thrift stores for materials to work with.  Ugh, I can't even begin to tell you the awful stuff in there sometimes.  But in the midst of the tragic mess of rubbish every once in awhile I see something others pass over because of the sad shape it's in.  I can tell I can redo it and make it wonderful again :)  (If it ever was wonderful :)  Take this little wooden house for example:
This was promising, although formerly covered in dried flowers in various states of decay and ruin and other crap around it that was pretty bad.  Not to mention that the light inside it had a french plug in on it, and thus was unusable here in the states.  What the???  How did it get here to the US and why with a plug that wouldn't plug in here?  No matter, my Hubby is quite handy and got me a new lighting unit that fit inside perfectly and lights the windows up like a proper nightlight should.  And I yanked off everything nasty or just plain cut it off with my exacto knife.  I have plans for this little home, it'll soon have new tenants :)  Who will be moving in?

Gnomes :)

My plan is to have a winter time Christmasy gingerbread style house with a little bit of a rustic vibe to it.  I have a very basic start on it and  it'll be far more elaborate in the end.  And there will be a gnome outside, which I'll have to make.  I'll post more pictures as I get further along but this is all I have so far:

I have a ton of work to do to this so stay tuned :)  Should be a cutie when I'm done but I have a long way to go!