October 31, 2009

Halloween in Miniature 12: Happy Halloween!

Welcome to the wrap-up party for The 12 Days of Halloween in Miniature (Link will take you to day 1).

I hope you had fun and enjoyed yourself, I know I did!

While the guests are helping clean up in the other room, let's go see what some of our neighbors are up to.

Miniaturist Patricia Roberson of Phoenix describes herself as a real Halloween fan and has made literally dozens of Halloween-based scenes in all scales. See some of her work below.

Shh... walk softly. See that shadow? You don't want to disturb whoever lives here.... Quick. Let's go to another house.

Oops! Oh, dear. Guess we stopped by at the wrong time. Looks like Helga is taking a bath. (Cat Wingler witch and Charles Claudon cats.)

Hurry, one more stop to make.

Ah, now that is more like it. Zelda says we should stay for tea, but we really need to get back for the Trick or Treaters. Mustn't disappoint the kiddies! (This is a half-scale scene with a Cat Wingler witch and Charles Claudon cats.)

Back outside now. Let's greet some of the Trick or Treaters! The decorations and little visitors are by Canadian miniaturist Doreen Playter.

Doreen, who's been making miniatures for four years, says she enjoys decorating her dollhouse for the holidays each season. She tries to change it every year, too, "just like a real house," she says.

While she says she doesn't sew, she is planning to add to the costumes, though she did a great job of dressing her little trick or treaters already, didn't she? (Click slideshow below. Wait for it to load.)

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed your visit!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: halloween house
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** Today is also Pink Saturday so be sure to stop by Beverly's blog, How Sweet the Sound

** Don't forget to click to give women in need free mammograms at The Breast Cancer Site.

** Did you check out my spooky read, The Witch Tree??

** For fun, I invite all readers to comment to win one of my spooky medieval books. Simply pick one of the past 12 Days of Halloween in Miniature and tell me which was your favorite photo. (You can see all links in blog archives in bottom right column.) Have fun!**

October 30, 2009

Halloween in Miniature 11: Wizards and Dogs, Oh My!

Welcome back! We're getting near the end of The 12 Days of Halloween in Miniature. (Link will take you to day 1).

Today, as they say in the classic Wizard of Oz movie... we're off to see the wizard!

Not just any wizards, of course, and certainly not the man "behind the curtain." Instead, I thought I'd share some fantastic wizards-- and their pets!

Witches always seem to have black cats. And while wizards seem to be associated with toads, dragons, frogs and other creatures, personally, I think a dog makes a perfect wizard's pet.

A dog is man's (and woman's) best friend, and in the case of my wizard, his dog (shown above), also helps the wizard with his own brand of magic. (Hence the dog's golden toenails.)

Besides being fond of pets, wizards also like to share formulas. This wizard is by doll maker Joyce McIntyre.

And lest you think otherwise, no, they aren't just preoccupied with spells and potions and whatever else.

Joyce's other wizard, whom she named the unwizardly Kenneth, seems to be hanging around a lot with the lovely Miranda.

Perfecting spells, so they say.

But when wizards aren't concocting potions, you often see them sitting at a desk cluttered with manuscripts. And even if you don't always see a pet in the picture, I bet a dog is just out of view. After all, don't dogs seem to have magical qualities?

I'd be wary, though. This Dog Sorcerer by Alice Zinn from her "Dog for All Seasons" book may look cute, but I wouldn't be late with his dinner!

These miniature dogs were also dressed by Michelle Riley in costumes based on the patterns in Alice's fun how-to book, "A Dog for All Seasons." (Copies still available at the link.) And as Michelle, found, you can't have just one!

** Next - Final Day 12: Happy Halloween!

** Look at these adorable needle-felted dogs

** Visit my miniature dogcatcher's house

** Cool assortment of Halloween dollhouse pix on Flickr

October 29, 2009

Halloween in Miniature 10: Amazing Halloween Food

Welcome to Day 10 of The 12 Days of Halloween in Miniature. (Link will take you to day 1.)

Well, we've met some guests, seen some decorations, so I guess it's time to splurge again.

We've got some yummy new Halloween treats to offer today so get a plate and dig in! (Well forget that angry-looking pumpkin at left. Yikes!) Pictured: Birthing Pumpkin

Today's amazing Halloween treats (and a few more "normal" foods) are by miniaturist and IGMA Artisan Kiva Atkinson.

Pictured: Nightmare cupcakes. (cute!)

Kiva's been making making miniatures for almost five years, an obsession which began, innocently enough, with collecting dolls.

"It all started when I began collecting unusual dolls," she says. "That led led to accessories, then I had my mom make me two dollhouses."

Pictured: Halloween Tomatoes

Food (in miniature) became her downfall. (Isn't that always the way? ha!)

She says, "when I discovered miniature food, I became completely obsessed! I never knew that such an art existed, and I started collecting pieces.
Pictured: Graveyard Brownies

"In time, I thought I would try my hand at making some, so I went to a craft store and bought just two blocks of clay, brown and white. I made a plate of breakfast, and since I only had two colors, I improvised by painting everything! From there, I did some research, bought some books, did a lot of experimenting, and threw myself into it non-stop."

She now makes a wide range of foods from the whimsical, sometimes humorous and slightly scary, to historical dishes and foods so realistic they will make your mouth water.
Pictured: Mummy Dogs

Even with the variety of her miniature menu, one of her favorite items to replicate is fish.

"I've always had a fondness for making seafood, particularly fresh fish, maybe because it's one of my favorite things to eat, too," she says. "I love checking out the displays of fresh seafood here in Hawaii and getting ideas of what to make."

Pictured: Sardine Appetizer

Even if you don't like fish, the texture almost makes you want to get out a fork, doesn't it?

Pictured: Fish and Salsa

If she had to pick one thing to make again and again, Kiva says it would probably be fruit: "The easiest thing for me to make is probably fruit. I've so much of it over the years that I could probably make most of them with a blindfold on."

But there is an exception: "Making a really good, realistic pineapple is difficult. I am asked to make them a lot, because I live in Hawaii!"

Pictured: Owl cupcakes

** Next: Day 11: Wizards' Best Friends!

** See more amazing food and seafood at Kiva's Miniatures website and her blog

**Halloween Party Recipes

** Hershey's chocolate recipes

October 28, 2009

Halloween in Miniature 9: Some Halloween Decor!

Let's talk about decor today on Day 9 of The 12 Days of Halloween in Miniature.

What's more fun than decorating for Halloween? You can get as spooky or as creative as you like, that's the fun of it!

It lets you indulge in all sorts of unusual treatments that you often don't dare to use in real life! (Well some might!)

Miniaturist Sally Watson of Kent, England, made this spooky scene in response to a challenge in the GSOLFOT Club (Green Sock on Left Foot on Tuesdays Club) to produce a scene based on the traditions of Halloween. You can see more of her work at her webshots page.

"The aim was to be a bit different from the usual pumpkins," she says. "I based mine on Samhain - the pagan equivalent and used the quotation on the ruler: 'It is believed that on this night the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest point, making this an excellent time to communicate with the Other Side.'"

The fireplace was made by printing a photo of her real fireplace on acetate. A wallpaper pattern done the same way gives the room a spooky feel. It features a mysterious landscape and strange plants, "the thinning of the veil. The shoes and bra are open to interpretation!" she says.

Sally also made this wonderfully decorated table filled with all kinds of potions and essentials! She hints that the variety of potions "may or may not work, but the witch has gone off for a snack so you can't ask!" (Whew! Some things are best left to the unknown... :>))

On a more seasonal note, Fay Zerbolio made the perfect fall - Halloween scene that she adapted to fit under a dome.

She made her cute little pumpkin sales scene a few years ago following a how-to pattern by Joanne Swanson. (See front of scene at beginning.)

Scouting around some real-life decorating sites, I found some fun ideas miniaturists might be inspired by:

** I can see this box of ghostly gourds as a unique mini Halloween decoration. Or how about a cabiinet of black crows?

** How about a coffin table?

** Here's a neat idea: silhouette curtains. To do: I'd draw a shape of a figure or a hanging body as shown on vellum paper with pencil. Color in with black paint or marker. When lit it should resemble a silhouette.

Next - Day 10: Kiva Atkinson's Amazing Halloween food!

October 27, 2009

Halloween in Miniature 8: What a Character!

Welcome to Day 8 of The 12 Days of Halloween in Miniature. (Link will take you to day one if you're checking in late.)

The best part of a Halloween party is seeing what costumes the guests are wearing. Some people have amazing imaginations!

It's much the same in miniature. Doll makers come up with an incredible array of costumes that rival any in real life.

Louise Goldsborough, who makes 1 inch - 1/12th scale dolls under the name Angelique Miniatures in England was thrilled to tell her "friends" about the party. Believe me, they caused quite a stir when they arrived.

There is a legend of the lovely "Spectre at the Masquerade" (pictured above), whose presence has been reported by several guests. (No, not the ones drinking the Golden Eye wine.)

According to eyewitness reports, "suddenly the temperature of the room dropped and all eyes were drawn to the hazy figure of a young woman standing in the corner. Her skin seemed strangely pale and her clothes were very fine but belonged to an era long ago. She seemed to shimmer in the gloom of the candlelight as she gazed wistfully at the revellers who stood gaping at her, open-mouthed in surprise. Then she gave a faint smile and faded away!"

If that wasn't enough to give visitors a fright, then "The Ghost of Anne Boleyn" would surely do the trick. Dressed in lavish brocade and sparkling trim, poor Anne still wanders, carrying her head in her hands.

Connecticut miniaturist Anne Larson has been making dolls for about 20 years. She began by assembling painted and wigged kits. She now starts with porcelain blanks so she can make the doll completely herself from the assembling and painting, to the wigging and dressing. She also enjoys doing character sculpting such as the winged monkey and the hawk sculpture in her Wizard of Oz scene.

Well, look who's arrived! It's Mother Goose! This figure was made from a Marcia Backstrom doll kit (resin made from her original sculpt; the face is molded), also dressed by Anne Larson.

Anne found the doll kit on clearance at her local miniature store. She says the kit "had been hanging around for years. I think if you don't make dolls, it's hard to see the potential in a doll kit, so that's why she never sold." But Anne knew what to do! (Good idea, too!)

Backstom, a Pennsylvania artist and IGMA Artisan (International Guild of Miniature Artisans) also creates fully hand-sculpted 1" scale figures in polymer clay. Her witches, ghosts and older people are amazing. This one called the Headhunter Witch was recently on Ebay with a starting price of $350. Her work is featured in museums worldwide.

** Next, Day 9: Some Halloween decor

** Check out Haunt Jaunts - a travel blog for restless spirits. Cool haunted places!

** Get printable ("printies") Halloween toile wallpaper

** Make a miniature scene in a pumpkin and a miniature lion costume

** Free dollhouse doll tutorials, all kinds of costumes

October 26, 2009

Halloween in Miniature 7: Halloween Pumpkins and More!

Welcome to Day 7 of The 12 Days of Halloween in Miniature. (Link will take you to day one if you're checking in late.)

I've still got pumpkins on the brain, especially once I read these pumpkin songs at this teacher website. (I didn't know pumpkin songs existed either. Beware the Little Teapot/Little Pumpkin song. You've been warned!)

Thought I'd share an assortment of Halloween items today like this group of different sized pumpkins shown above.

Many visitors who don't collect may not know that there are several scales smaller than the 1 inch scale items I've been showing. It goes down in increments to 144th scale (dollhouse for a dollhouse) size and even smaller micro minis.

I like half scale (1/24th scale) which is roughly sized down in half from 1" scale. I've been collecting things to design a couple rooms in a Gothic clock case I bought at a garage sale for $3.

Here're a few cute Halloween and seasonal cakes of polymer clay made by my friend Kitty. See her blog, Kitty's Minis.

(That's a penny in front to give you an idea of how tiny these are.)

This draped table is from a past half scale group swap.

Even smaller is this charming scene in a pumpkin, what Canadian Chris Shibata calls her "Pumpkin Party."

While the pumpkin itself, which she made of FIMO polymer clay and hollowed out on the inside is 1 1/8" tall in 1" scale, the interior figures are roughly 144th scale.

Holy cow! Though it's hard to see (best photo she had) there is an even tinier pumpkin inside on the table that has the same scene in it!

I bet even Peter Pumpkin Eater would be amazed!

** Next, Day 8: Meet some characters!

** Official Halloween movies site

** Check out these incredible half scale houses from the UK's Petite Properties

** To give you an idea of size, here is a free half scale couch and chair pattern to try. (It is in Dutch but simply cut and upholster.)

** Wow, check out this guy's amazing pumpkin carving gallery

October 25, 2009

Halloween in Miniature 6: Halloween Pumpkins!

Welcome to day six of The 12 Days of Halloween in Miniature. If you're coming by late, you can check in at the start of the party here.

Today, let's look at one of the most popular elements of Halloween - the pumpkin. Funny or frightful, simple or extreme, nothing says Halloween like a pumpkin.

Pumpkins are the ideal decoration for Halloween and fall, inside and out. Or like this full-size carvable pumpkin, it's a little bit of both!

Miniaturist Chris Pecherzewski of New York state used this pumpkin as a great setting for her own miniature Halloween party!

Quite possibly, the pumpkin's appeal comes from its color. Feng shui describes orange as an energy color that is vibrant, but not as pulsating as red. Basically, it's a feel good, "happy" color. Who doesn't feel better around orange?

Pretty in Orange

Louise Goldsborough of Angelique Miniatures, England, was inspired by the color to create this pretty Pumpkin Witch. The 1/12th - 1 inch scale doll (1 inch = 1 foot) is dressed in a Tudor peasant style in earth colors.

Decorating with Pumpkins

The pumpkin makes a great decorative accent however it's used.

It can be carved, displayed alone, or used as a festive planter like this flower display by Washington state miniaturist Nancy Day.

Nancy also made this great cornucopia styled pumpkin planter.

The Awww Factor

Then there's the awww factor. IGMA Fellow Kerri Pajutee has been sculpting for more than 30 years, 22 of them in miniature.

She made this adorable "Boo Kitty" as an alternative to the traditional Halloween black cat. The cat, also of polymer clay, has alpaca fibers, green eyes, and can be removed to be used in another scene or in the dollhouse. (Cute!)

Had enough Halloween?

Hey, you don't have to apologize if you already feel sick of the holiday.

Guess what? Pumpkins get sick about it, too. haa! Love it! (Well, sorry, maybe it's just the idea of, you know, all that pumpkin abuse this time of year. See video link at end as way of explanation.)

Kerri Pajutee also made this scene, she says, "on a whim after seeing a multitude of real life puking pumpkins folks have carved for Halloween." (Yeah, nothing says Halloween like a puking pumpkin, right? haaa!)

** Next, Day 7: More Pumpkins!

** Carve a virtual pumpkin

** Funny, weird, award-winning short film, Life and Death of a Pumpkin

** Assortment of pumpkin recipes

October 24, 2009

Halloween in Miniature 5: A Pink Halloween!

Welcome to Day 5 of our virtual Halloween party! The 12 Days of Halloween in Miniature is going strong. You're not too late! You can still check in at the beginning of the party here.

Today, as it's also Pink Saturday over at Beverly's blog, I thought I'd introduce you to a few more party guests, including a few who are thinking Pink!

**(Perfect as October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month!)**

Most of us, of course, associate Halloween with the traditional black and orange colors. This witch and little girl dressed in a cute pumpkin costume certainly fit the bill.

This perfect rendition of the Holiday theme is by New Jersey miniaturist Camille Townsend. Cam has been making miniature dolls for 14 of her 17 years collecting miniatures.

Cam pours, dresses and china paints miniature porcelain dolls for her own scenes and says it "totally absorbs my mind and I'm truly a happy camper when I'm creating." (And isn't that what it's all about?)

But no matter the holiday, some things are better suited to PINK. How about this miniature rat with a pink cape, or a fun Halloween mask of a cute dog face - yes in pink.

Party in Pink

A few guests got "in the Pink" and dressed to show it!

How about the ultimate "Pink Lady?" I mean the lovely Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, as portrayed by the beautiful Billie Burke in the Wizard of Oz? This gorgeous miniature version is also by Cam Townsend.

The lady with her pink boa (pictured above) by Nancy Cronin definitely knows how to get "in the pink!"

And what better way to celebrate pink than with a lovely pink tea set?

These wonderful witches, hand-sculpted and poured in resin by Nancy Cronin, certainly think so! The scene was inspired by an old photo. (Ooh, and Nancy says that she is working on an online workshop centered on this scene, so stay tuned for details sometime around January!)

** Next: Day 6: Halloween pumpkins

** October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month - click daily at the Breast Cancer site to give women in need free mammograms.

** A fun change: How about a pink Halloween?

** Cute idea: miniature pink and black Halloween items at Etsy