Sunday, November 21, 2010

SUGAR N' SPICE part one


The base is a simple 5" x 7" wooden picture frame.   I choose a green color.
Remove everything from the frame.   We will be using the back side of the
frame for our display because it has more working space.  From chipboard
or double thickness of matboard cut a rectangle to fit snuggly in frame.  
Print out the vintage linoleum pattern onto semi-gloss photo paper (Epson's
Premium Photo Paper Semi-gloss used here).  Trim to fit chipboard inset. 
Use quality glue stick (Avery brand is a wise choice) to adhere flooring to
chipboard.  Glue the assembly into back of frame.

                                             Set printer to print pattern 5.28"W x 8.06"H
                                                        Use best printing selection.

This cabinet is a mini version of the one I have in my kitchen which has been
handed down thru my family.  I have omitted the top doors/drawers to make
room for  display.

The Cabinet Base:
Note: All drawers and doors in the base are faux.  You may re-work the
pattern/directions if you desire working ones.

You will need:
¼” sq. stripwood + two Tiny Turnings #3000 (available from your miniature dealer
or look online Note: Tiny Turnings are quality wood turnings that are offered in 4
styles, multi-packed for very reasonable prices with many fun mini-uses besides
the obvious) + smooth matboard + thin cardstock (index-card weight) +
posterboard (.030, approx. 1/32” thick) + 3/32” bass sheetwood + ¼” long crystal
clear bugle beads and seed beads to match + 15 gauge wire + wood glue, tacky
glue, glue stick + paint and stain (Ceramcoat’s antique white #2001 acrylic and
Delta’s Brown Antiquing gel used here)

-For legs, cut four, 2 ⅛” lengths from ¼” square stripwood.  From Tiny Turnings
# 3000 cut four 1” long pieces as shown.
Glue the ends of the 2 ½” x ¼” sq. pieces to top end of turned pieces to form
4 legs.
-From 1/16” smooth matboard cut a front and a back 3 ¼”W x 2 1/16”H; two
sides 1 9/16”W x 2 1/16”H; a bottom per pattern.
- Glue back piece between a pair of prepared legs, top and back edges flush.
-From cardstock cut two side relief pieces 1 9/16”W x 2 ⅛”H.  Use the RELIEF
FOR SIDES pattern as guide to cut out the center of these pieces.
Glue cardstock relief pieces evenly to face of side pieces.
-Glue assembled side pieces to back leg assembly, top edges flush and set in
1/16” from outside edge of legs.
- Glue front legs to sides, top edges flush and legs extending 1/16” out from
-Cut a bottom per pattern and glue in place to insides of side and back pieces
and legs.
-To prepare front cut out breadboard section as shown.
-Using posterboard cut 2 bin doors, two center drawers and frames for lower
drawers.  Using a pointed stylus score lined-pattern, as shown, into doors and
-Glue bottom drawer frames to front to form bottom doors.  Glue all drawer/door
pieces in place on face of front piece using glue stick.
-Prepare 6 vintage faux glass handles:  Feed a length of wire through a seed
bead, then a bugle bead, and then another seed bead per diagram.  Hold beads
together with a drop of cyanoacrylate glue.  When glue has set, bend wire ends
down at right angles to beads.  Insert another seed bead on wire ends. 
-Poke holes thru front piece to take wire ends.  Insert wire ends of handles into
holes and bend back wires in back to hold in place.
-Glue front piece in place to bottom piece and sides of legs. 
-Paint and antique as desired.
-Cut a 2-5/16” x 4” top from 3/32” basswood.  Sand smooth and glue to top of
base, back edges flush, overhang to front and centered side to side. 
-Breadboard: From 3/32” bass sheetwood cut a piece 2 ⅛” x 1 ¼” with wood
grain running lengthwise.  Cut another piece 1-1/4” x ⅛ and glue it to front edge
of the first piece using wood glue.  When glue has set, sand smooth and ever
so slightly round off front and side edges.  Check to make sure this breadboard
will fit into the slot allotted to it on base front and if needed, make adjustments
as needed.

Set printer to print at 5.21"W x 4.85"H


Set printer to print at 5.05"W x 8.16"H

Cabinet Top:
-From matboard cut a back piece 3 ¾ “W x 3 ⅜”H, two sides 1”W x 3 ⅜”H,
a sub-top and a shelf 1” deep x 3⅝” W. 
-Glue a long edge of the side pieces to the face of the back piece, outside
edges flush.  Glue the sub-top and the shelf to the face of the back piece and
side pieces, the sub-top flush with top edges and the shelf placed as desired
for what you wish to display…as seen, it is 1⅝” down from top piece. 
-From posterboard cut 3/16”W trim strips.  Use these to frame the outside face
of the side pieces, top and bottom frame pieces first and then side pieces;
from these trim pieces cut a piece to face across the top from side to side,
top edge flush with top of cabinet; Use the same trim pieces to face the front
edges of the side pieces, from top to bottom, outside edges flush; face the front
edges of the shelf, top edges flush.
-From matboard cut a top piece 1 ¼ “x 4”.  Glue it atop the cabinet, back
edges flush and centered side to side.
-From ¼” square stripwood cut a bottom brace to fit from side to side, inside the
cabinet top, glue it to the back and side pieces, bottom edges flush.
-Paint and antique the cabinet top to match the base.
-Glue the top of the cabinet to the cabinet base, back edges flush and
centered side to side.
- Cut two 3/16” slices from a 13/32” colonial moulding wood strip (Lowes) or
similar moulding (check your miniature dealer’s supplies) to act as
Paint and antique to match cabinet.  Glue to top and base sections of the cabinet
as seen in photograph.


Holly Garland
-Using a solid core green paper paint both sides with holly/Christmas
green acrylic paint.  Let dry.  Using a holly shaped paper punch
(there are several on the market that are good scale, check
scrapbooking/craft/miniature suppliers, brick and mortar or online), punch out
leaves from prepared paper.  Place several leaves on the palm of your hand
(left hand if you are right handed) and use a pointed stylus to “draw a line”
down the center of each leaf.  This process will give the leaves dimension. 

This is the holly punch I used:

-Tightly twist brown floral tape into a rope long enough to go across top of
cabinet and drape down each side.  Glue the rope in place on the cabinet.
-Using pointed tweezers pick up leaves and glue to rope, starting at each
end and working to center top, overlapping the leaves as you go. 
-Use red no-hole beads or Woodland Scenic’s Fruit (a scale model
railroad supply) to add clusters of “berries” on holly.

-Print out small gingerbread men onto cardstock.  Use brown watercolor
or water color pencils to color edges and back of the cookies. 

Print out at 6.23"W x .53"H

 Dip the tip of a pointed stylus into Judi Kin’s Diamond Dimensional Glaze (scrapbooking/craft/miniature store purchase with lots of miniature applications)
and trace over frosting on cookies. 

 Add gingerbread boys to garland as desired.

Gingerbread Houses Etc.
The gingerbread pieces used in Sugar n’ Spice are from my collection.  These
include vintage Hallmark miniature ornaments, craft store finds, and handmade.
The darling gingerbread sleigh and reindeer is an assembled laser kit from
Charlotte Atcher  She offers a nice variety of
well done gingerbread kits, including, houses, cookies, train, etc.
Look here for some fun gingerbread houses and patterns that can be adopted to

The roofs, door and window top, base, etc. are frosted with Scribbles
Dimensional Paint, Spackle, Gesso, or acrylic snow available such as
Delta’s Fantasy Snow.  The roofs may also be shingled with “cookies”
created by punching out small rounds of desired colors and over lapping
them from top to bottom. 
There are tiny stars, hearts, trees, etc. shapes to be found on paper punches. 
Often these shapes are tiny parts of a bigger design…look at your punches with  
“miniaturist’s eyes”.  Punch them from colored cardstock and glaze for a candy
sheen.    Of course you may choose to use Fimo to create your house and it’s
decorations.  Candy canes are a traditional part of gingerbread houses and
Fimo makes excellent ones…simply roll out a red (or whatever color desired)
and a white snake of the same size; lay them side by side and twist together. 
Continue rolling and twisting until the pattern and size of the cane meet your
needs.  Lay the rolls on a piece of glass or ceramic tile.   Bake according to
package directions.  When cool cut lengths as needed.

Candy canes can also be made from Knit-Cro-Sheen thread.  Cut a piece of
white and red.  Lay them side by side; using your fingertips wipe tacky glue on
them.  Twist them together until you get your desired pattern…hold for a few
seconds until the glue sets.  Keep a damp cloth handy for sticky fingers. 

Martha Stewart has a product called Baker’s Twine in her holiday collection
at Michaels, six spools in three different colors that are already twisted.  You
can add glue to solidify and also twist it finer if desired.

Coat your thread or twine canes with clear nail polish for a shiny finish. 
Be sure and make some extra ones to fill a bowl, as seen on the table in the
opening photo. 

I am including two house printies.  Print them onto cardstock. Cut out, score
and glue sides over tabs and roof over eave tabs.  Glue on printie doors and
windows. Or create you own from snippets of cardstock, remember it is a
gingerbread house so it is best not to perfect.  Glue house onto a cardstock

This house is a version one found in  Dec. 1951 Better Homes & Gardens

The little gingerbread creations are a fun project.  You may find items in your
collections that with a bit of paint, cookies, candy and imagination can be
transformed into gingerbread…don’t overlook Monopoly houses.

Whew!!!  That is it for right now. In a few days, in Part 2,  I will tell you about
the baking taking place on the lower part of the cabinet.  Then we will be on to
the scrub table and the frosting and decorating going on there. 

Do let me know if you enjoy this project and if you should create any or all of it
how it went together for you.


Monday, November 1, 2010


                                 A BIT OF AUTUMN

                            “Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.”
                                                                          William Cullen Bryant, 1784-1878

Welcome back to the "farm"!  Hope you enjoyed part one of this
project (well actually I know you did by the wonderful response
it recieved, thank you)  and are ready for part two.  Here we go!


                                      SHAKER-STYLE GRAPE BASKET
Cut basket bottom from matboard.  Cut sides and handle from manila folder paper.
Starting on a long side, glue side strip around bottom piece, bottom edges flush.
Overlap serrated end of side piece and glue in place.  Lay handle in palm of hand
and roll over it with a round pencil until it curves to prevent creasing.  Glue handle ends
in place on inside of basket.  Before or after assembly, basket may be weathered/aged
with a light mixture of brown acrylic and Delta’s Gel Stain Medium.  Add a dot of
glue over the nail marks on the serrated section of the side.  When glue has set color
these nail heads with black pen or acrylic.  Fill with grapes.
                       Copy pattern to your computer; print at 3.56" W x 1.33" H for 1" scale.

Make a mixture of black (½), blue (1/4) and transparent (1/4) Fimo. Roll into a 1/16”
 diam coil. Use a single edge razor blade to cut the coil into 1/16” pieces and transfer
these in a group to palm of left hand (assuming you are right handed).  Use middle or
ring finger of right hand to gently roll each piece into a round.  Transfer individual
“grapes” to a piece of glass or ceramic tile on which they will be baked.  Group 9-12
grapes together, to form a rough circle.  Top the first circle of grapes with increasingly
smaller groupings until the cluster is the size you desire.  Gently turn the cluster over
and add single grapes here and there until the desired shape is reached.  For stems,
roll a small piece of brown Fimo into a very thin snake; twist slightly and add to base
of grape cluster.  Bake according to Fimo package direction.  When cool, sporadically
dab with a very light white acrylic wash.  When wash is dry, coat grapes with a
satin acrylic finish.   For interest add a few small (approx. 3/8" W.) maple leaf shapes
punched from matt green paper; emboss veins with a pointed stylus.

                                                           PRODUCE BOXES
Use pieces, as is or trimmed as needed, from Woodsie Rectangles (craft store
purchase) or cut your own from basswood.  To age, wash all sides of all pieces with
black-brown watercolor & press flat till dry.  Add lettering to side pieces as desired
( for method used see Sign instructions in an upcoming post)).  Glue face of side pieces
to edges of bottom piece and face of end pieces to edges of bottom & side pieces. 

                                  Copy pattern to computer; print at 3.627" x 1.0"H for 1" scale.


Note: This birdhouse is not the same one as pictured in the scene.  That one
is an very inexpensive wood piece purchased from Michaels Crafts.
1.  Print birdhouse pieces on cardstock (I prefer Epson’s Matte Premium
Presentation Paper ). 
2.  Before cutting out, score house… between tab section and side, & between
back & front & sides; score from the center top of front section down to the
front/side corners, repeat for the back section.
3.  Carefully cut out.  Use 1/8” and 1/16” round paper punches to punch
holes in house front.  
4.  Color the wrong sides of the house and roof with a dry colored pencil in
dark gray (this does not have to be a perfect job; it is just to lightly cover
the white). 
5.  Fold house inward on all scored lines.  Glue back section over tab to hold; glue
bottom tabs to inside.
6.  Cut out roof piece and score along eave/roof sections on all 4 sides; score
across center of roof.  Clip eave section to roof at the center score, on both sides. 
Fold the eave sections in at approx. 45 degree angles to roof.
7.  Glue the roof, centered over the top of the house, on the triangle tabs and the
edges of the sides.  When the glue has set a bit make sure the front & back eave
edges are at 45 degrees to the roof and then glue one clipped end over the other
at both the front and the back peaks. 
8.  Carefully crease the side eaves inward so the corners are inline with the
cornersof the front & back eaves; add just a tiny dab of glue to these corners
from the underside to hold them together.
9.  For perch, cut an approx. 3/8” length from a round toothpick, starting at a
pointed end.  Round off the fat end with sandpaper.  Color the perch with
black and brown water color pencils for a weathered look.  Glue the pointed
end of the perch snugly into the 1/16” hole in house front.

                                                 RUSTIC BIRDHOUSE PATTERN
         Copy pattern to computer and set to print out at 4.392" x 1.984" for 1" scale.

1.  Cut head from tan or natural color, lightweight, closely woven fabric
Gather into pouch shape with a needle and thread and stuff with cotton batting
but do not tie off the stitching.   Insert a 1/16” to 3/32” thick  by approx. 4” long
dowel or stick up into head and tie off gathering threads tightly around it.   Adjust
gathers so that all are to one side (the back), leaving the other side (the front) fairly
2.  On the smooth side of the head paint a face with acrylics.  Remember, it is a
scarecrow, so it does not have to be perfect but it should make you smile a bit!
Click on pattern and then save image to computer.  Set printer to print image at
4.44"W x 2.67"H.

3..Cut hat from golden color felt.  Mark center.  Saturate with a half and half
solution of glue & water.  Stretch over the pointed end of a glue bottle or
something similar that has been covered over with plastic wrap held in place
with a rubber band. Hold felt in place with another rubber band.  Let felt dry
completely before removing it from form.  Set aside.

To save pattern to computer, click on image & copy & paste. 
Set you printer to 2.12"W x 1.91"H

4.  Cut shirt on the fold from a piece of fine plaid or checked fabric.  With right
sides together sew underarm seams.  Glue a hem back on bottom and on sleeves. 
Turn right side out.
5.  For gloves glue two pieces of white felt together for a double thickness.  Cut out
using pattern.  Glue gloves into sleeve openings.  Stuff sleeves with cotton batting.
Tie off sleeve ends with thread.  Slip shirt on stick under head, thru hole in top of
shirt.  Slide shirt up to head and glue gathers on bottom of head over shirt.
6.  Make pants by cutting dark blue or black fabric on double thickness.
Hint: Look for fine denim in baby clothing at 2nd hand stores).  Place right sides
together and sew seams.  Glue back hems on legs.  Turn right side out and stuff
with batting.  Glue top of pants inside of shirt with stick to back and outside of pants. 
The amount of pants glued inside shirt will determine the length of your scarecrow. 
Tie length of buttonhole thread around waist for belt. 
7.  Stuff bottom of legs with bits of straw, shredded raffia, or sea grass.  Tie
buttonhole thread around bottom of legs.
8.  With glue, tuck some wisps of your straw material hanging out of bottom of shirt,
out of sleeves and around gloves.  Tuck straw into gathers of neck area.  Glue straw
on head for hair.  When glue has set, glue hat over hair.  Tie length of thread around
hat just above the brim.  Trim and adjust straw hair. 
9.  A light black acrylic wash may be used to weather scarecrow as desired. 
Drill hole in scene base where you will place your scarecrow and insert stick
with glue. 

Click on image to enlarge; copy & paste to your
computer.  Set printer image to 5.56"W x 1.96"H

1.  For the post cut a 6” length of 3/16” sq. stripwood.  Whittle the bottom
¼” into a point.  Paint with a deep green acrylic and when dry lightly sand
the edges here and there &  use a light black acrylic wash to weather the
2.  Cut signs backings from 1/16” sheetwood or use Woodsie precut
Rectangles.  Weather with a light black watercolor wash
Press flat till dry.
3.  Signs may be hand lettered and worded as desired or they may be done
using a direct transfer (as opposed to mirror image)Iron-On transfer using
the images givenI prefer to use Click-n-Craft Iron-on Transfer 2 (Joann’s
Fabrics or online vendors).  It is easy and gives terrific fool-the-eye results. 
Desired images may be created on the computer and transferred to the
paper with an inkjet copier, following the package instructions. 

Once the image is on the transfer paper you
will cut the paper to desired size or slightly
larger. You now pull the backing off the
transfer & with the wood sign laying on a flat
surface place the transfer smoothly on it. 
A provided piece of parchment paper is
placed over the transfer and a heated iron is
applied.  For miniature purposes a mini
Clover Needlecraft iron (Joann’s Fabrics)
is very convenient & does the job easily. 
Apply the heat smoothly until the transfer
adheres to the wood & the transfer backing
all but disappears. 
 Let it cool for a second or two and then pull the
parchment paper off.  The iron can easily melt off any paper
                   extending over your wood.                             

As easy as that you have the look of hand lettered work. 
At this point your imagination should really kick in and
you will think of many applications for this technique.
This is how the lettering was applied to the wheelbarrow
and the produce box in Part 1 of this project. 

Glue the signs to the post, spaced as
desired.  Let glue set.  Drill a hole thru the
base where you want your signpost to sit
and push/twist the post into the hole with a
bit of glue to hold.

Copy & paste signs to your computer. 
Set printer to:
1.28"W x 1.07"H for top of post sign.
5.98"W x 1.15"H for the produce signs.
3.17W x 2.96"H for the wheelbarrow & box signage
Of course you may want to design your own signage using your name.


The crow as seen on top of the signpost was “bashed” from a Lemax Spooky

Town ( ) accessory piece.  Detailed crows in
various positions show up in several of these very inexpensive resin pieces. 
With dust mask in place I used a Dremel Moto Tool to cut the crow off
of the piece (some will actually pull free with a few twists. To keep with a true
crow  beaks are actualy black.
 If your talents or interests are such you may choose to create your own crow
by sculpting with Fimo or carving from wood. 

For miniature perfection check out miniature artisans like Linda Master.  


                                                      GARDEN GLOVES

Make copies of gloves onto lightweight paper.  Cut out a front and back for
each of 2 gloves, cutting between fingers.  Glue together in sets, wrong sides
together, by their very outer edges, leaving the opening unglued.  It will help to
something like the large flat edge of a cocktail/sandwich pick into the
gloves to make sure the opening does not get glued together and for
something to hold on to while working on them.  When the glue has set,
stuff the gloves lightly with cotton

For the brown leather gloves, stipple over the brown color with a
slightly darker brown watercolor (water color pencils work great for this). 
Add a coat of matte Mod Podge to the green hand pad.  When all is dry,
paint on a coat of neutral color Shoe Polish.  Allow to dry and buff to a
sheen.  Gently shape completed gloves for a natural look.

For the white cotton gloves, color the wrist band red with acrylics or
permanent pen.  Insert something into a glove to act as a handle, see
above.  Coat both sides of a glove with a coat of matte Mod Podge and
immediately cover with a piece of bathroom tissue, using your brush to
make sure that the tissue is saturated & flat to the paper.  Once the
Mod Podge has dried trim off the excess tissue around the edges and
re-cut between fingers as needed. This will give the gloves a cloth look. 
Stuff glove lightly with cotton; shape as desired.
                                                           PAPER GARDEN MUMS

Years ago a miniaturist, whom I can’t recall, sent me a pot of yellow
“chrysanthemums”.  She said that they were actually a dried plant that
grew in her state (Montana?).  I used them in one of my scenes, never
to be seen again.  Jump ahead quite a few years and being in need of
some quick, fill-in flowers I searched the internet to see if I could find those
same ’mums…and there they were, LONAS INDORA, also known as
African Daisy.  I was able to find bunches of them locally and have used
them ever since as fill-ins or when I don’t have the time or patience to
create paper ones.  Lonas are multi clusters of small yellow flowers on stems. 
I use them as is or use water colors to create other shades of chrysanthemums. 
I also use a pick to fluff them up a bit if they are overly dry.
They are fast and easy to prepare and very fool-the-eye in many settings.
For this project, group assorted colors together in pots or pails. 
To find Lonas do an internet search or check  your local craft/floral shop’s
dried floral section.

If you would like to make paper mums here are instructions for SMALL
Cut 1/8" wide strips 3" long of Art Tissue Paper (for this quality tissue paper
look in art supply stores).  Measure and mark a pencil line that divides the strip
in half LENGTHWISE.  Fold the strip into fourths widthwise.  Cut half of the
of the strip into a very fine fringe with small, sharp scissors (gingher 5"
large handled scissors are a wonderful additon to your tool chest.  Hint: Look
for discount coupons from Joann's Fabrics to use for these scissors.  And
if you purchase them put a Mr. Yuck sticker on them to remind yourself &
anyone else who is tempted to use them for anything but fine cutting to STOP),
using the pencil line as a guide.  Unfold.  Cut  a length of thin green floral wire
(non-cloth covered) & dip an end into thick white craft glue (I use Crafters
Pick Ultimate ).  Place the glued end of the floral
wire on the non-fringed section of one end of the prepared paper strip.  With
the aid of glue on the non fringed section, wrap the paper smoothly and as
evenly as possible around the wire.  Use glue sparingly with a light touch,
keeping it off the fringe.  Make the blossom as full as desired.  Cut off any
excess paper.  Pinch and roll unfringed section of paper on wire between
fingertips to taper and compact it as much as possible.  Paint this section
with leaf-green acrylic.    With the aid of a needle tool pull fringed petals
down in layers, leaving a slight clump in the middle.  This center of the flower
may be tinted lightly with water color of a slightly darker shade than the flower.
Cut the wire to size desired and paint it to match the underside of the flower,
using it to even out the underside of the flower/stem join.
Leaves may be punched from leaf green paper; use needle tool to score
veins.  A mini oak leaf is a good  is approx. 1/4"W x 3/8"H.


-Punch maple leaves from lightweight yellow paper that you have sponged
with various fall colors for a mottled look.
Use a pointed stylus to accent the veins.  Spinkle here and there on you scene.

-Gather a bunch of dried grass or stems left over from dried flowers and tie
around the center for a bundle.  Stand on end.

-Add a holiday touch to your scene with a Thanksgiving turkey.  Safari Ltd.
has a nice Tom Turkey.  Check online vendors and your local miniature
& craft stores.
Safari Farm Domestic Male Turkey picture

So that is the end of my contributions to
A Bit of Autumn.  Use them as you may to
add a bit of the season to your home…
maybe even as a centerpiece on your
Thanksgiving table, flanked by candles.

The Christmas season is hovering in the
background and nudging my creativity,
so be on the look-out for a little  holiday
gift that will becoming your way soon.

Don’t forget those Food Banks!