Monday, January 17, 2011




You will need:  print out of patterns on plain paper (set printer to print at 7.51W x 2.01H)  +  .080 (approx. 3/32” thick)  Davey Board ( Davey board is an acid-free, strong, warp resistant  board sold in art supply stores with book-binding supplies. , Daniel Smith on the west coast & Hollanders on the east coast are two good suppliers).  It is an excellent alternative to wood but you may choose to use wood if desired  + glue stick or repositionable glue + needle file or drill + acrylic craft paint + fine sandpaper or and emery board  + Delta Gel Medium  mixed half and half with a Raw Umber acrylic paint +  1/16” dowel (round toothpick) +  quality craft glue + thin jute or cording in natural color for rope.

       1. Rough cut runner patterns and lightly adhere (using a light coat of glue
stick or repositionable glue) to Davey Board with bottom edge of runners
flush with bottom edge of board.  Use a sharp craft knife to cut out runners;
it will take several passes with your knife.  Keep your blade sharp with a
sharpening stone and cut away from your fingers.  Cut sled top and braces
 from the same Davey Board.  Slightly round-off corners of sled top with
sandpaper.  Cut dowel to size.

2.  Use a needle file or drill to make rope and dowel holes in sled runner fronts

3.  Paint pieces with craft acrylics, your choice of colors…forest green used
here.  When paint has set use fine sandpaper or an emery board to sand
back paint on areas that would naturally get the most wear…remember this
is a “working” sled.  Coat the runners with brown antiquing medium and wipe
back off while still wet…this will age you piece.

4.    Insert the dowel into the holes in the runners, outside edges flush and
holding with glue if necessary.

5.    Glue the top piece and the braces between the runners, top piece flush with
 top edge of runners and braces placed as shown.

6.   Cut approx. 8” of “rope”.  Put some craft glue in your fingertips and run it
along the rope as you slightly twist it.  When glue has set insert one end into
rope hole in runner from the outside, tie a knot to hold.  Repeat for other side
when you have determined how long you want your rope to be

7.   You may add a carrier box to the sled if desired.

8.   Optional:  You may add faux nail heads to the sides of runners by using
a toothpick tip to dab on the tiniest of dots of craft glue.  When the glue has
almost set, flatten it with a fingertip.  Color the glue dot with permanent
marker pen in brown or black.
From 1/16” sheet basswood (I used Woodsies) cut a bottom 1-1/16” x 1-11/16”;
two sides 1-9/16” x 9/16”; two ends, 1-1/16” x 9/16”.  Glue the edges of the sides
and ends to the face of the bottom piece and to each other to form a box. 
Age/weather as desired.  As seen a mixture of half and half Raw Umber Acrylic
paint & Delta Gel Medium was applied and wiped back off while still wet. 
Add graphics of your choice or use the label printie given here.  Fill with firewood.

PRINTIE (Click to enlarge and save to computer)

1.      Make a printout of the two mailbox pieces on matt cardstock.  Make
 printout of mailbox color sheet on bright white paper.  Cut out pieces.

PRINTIE (Click to enlarge & save to computer)

2.     The colored side of the pieces are the inside of the mailbox.  Score all
the back section.  Clip tabs around back section & fold them inward; fold back
section forward on bottom line; do not score or fold front section.

3.     On mailbox top piece score on tab lines; fold tabs inward.  Lay top piece
 on a slightly giving surface and roll over its center section with a round pencil
to slightly curve it (colored section inward), this will prevent creasing.  Glue
tabs of top piece to underside of bottom section of base & back edge over
the tabs around inside of the mailbox back section.  Check to make sure that
 the top is curved evenly and make any adjustments as necessary. 

4.     Tightly wrinkle up two sections of the rust colored paper.  Unfold it and
smooth out as much as possible.  Cover the bottom of the mailbox and what
would be the front of the mailbox in one piece of the prepared rust color
paper, using glue stick.  While the paper is still damp from the glue smooth
out more wrinkles.  Trim paper to fit.  Use the 2nd prepared piece of wrinkled
to cover the mailbox top, smoothing and trimming as needed.

                       PRINTIE (Click on picture and save to computer)
5.     Use a brown watercolor pencil to add rust/age to the inside of the front
door of the mailbox. 

6.     On another color piece draw a line 1/16” from one long edge and score
along the line.  Put glue on the 1/16” section and fold it over for a double
thickness of paper.  Cut the doubled 1/16” section free.  Make three of
these strips. Color any exposed white edges with watercolor pencil. Glue
one around the mailbox back edge, starting and stopping at bottom edges;
 repeat with another strip for the front edge.  The third strip is used to face
 around the edges of the mailbox door, bottom edges flush with, overhang
to top.

7.     Make a triple thickness of the rust color paper with the top and bottom
layer having the color on the outside.  When glue has set, cut a 3/32” wide
strip.  From this strip cut & form the door pull and the  latch. Cover exposed
edges with water color pencil.  Glue in place on the mailbox top and outside
of door as shown.  Also from this piece cut a flag and glue in place on side
of box.

8.     From 1/16” thick wood (I used Woodsies) cut a mailbox base 1 ½” x ¾”,
from 3/16” thick wood (I used triple thickness of Woodsies) cut a post
support ½”square, and  from 3/8” square stripwood a post 2 1/2” long. 
 Color all three pieces with a mixture of 1/3 each of black acrylic, raw umber
acrylic, and Delta Gel Stain, wiping back off while wet for a weathered look. 
Glue the base centered under the mailbox; glue the support centered on the
base.  Cut a hole in the snow and thru the Styrofoam in the base to fit the
post.  Glue the post in place and when set glue the mailbox assembly atop it

9.     Add a bit more snow around the bottom of the post.  For added interest
poke some snippets of dried foliage in the snow around the post.  Add snow
to the top of the mailbox…I know, it is a bit scary to do this after the hard work
of creating the mailbox so to make things easier make a “frost” a sample
piece first and us that as a sample.

10.  Note: For lettering on the side of the mailbox you may use iron on
iron-on transfers, hand paint or print over the top of the color sheet using 
your computer before assembly.



Cut out covers.  Score and fold on spine.  Cit a faux "pages "
piece, slightly smaller all around than the cover from cardboard,
foamcore, or what-have-you, depending on the thickness you
would like your catalog to be.  Glue page piece into cover.

PRINTIES (Click to enlarge and save to your computer)


1.  Print birdhouse pieces, except for House Platform, 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 too lightly cover the white
of the paper). 
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 in line with the
corners of 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 pencil for a weathered look.  Glue the pointed end
of the perch snugly into the 1/16” hole in house front.
10.  Cut platform piece from mat board.  Using glue stick, cover the bottom
smoothly with printie cover paper and then the top & sides with the 2nd larger
 printie cover paper, clipping and trimming for a smooth, neat finish.  Glue the
house to the platform, back edges flush.
11.  Add a bit of sawdust to the platform to act as birdseed.  You may just tuck
the birdhouse into the tree with a bit of glue or you may choose to add a wire
or string hanger to the roof.

PRINTIE (Click on picture and save to computer)

1.     Cut the shovel blade and 2 top supports from cardboard (the type/weight
that backs tablets).
2.     Use a pointed stylus to indent the lines as shown on the front and back of
the shovel.
3.       Use fine sandpaper to slightly bevel the edges of the short ends of the
fronts of the top support pieces.  Glue the supports to the front and back of
the shovel, top edges flush.
4.     To age & weather the shovel use a mixture of 1/3 each of black & burnt
umber acrylic paint and Delta Gel Medium to paint onto shovel;  Wipe back
off while still wet until the finish pleases you. 

5.     Use thin sheet aluminum (a perfect use for those metal containers that
hold tea candles…simply cut the sides free and flatten it) to cut a bottom
piece; score it lengthwise with a pointed stylus and fold it in half.  Glue it
encasing the bottom edge of the shovel, using E600 glue, sparingly. 
Use a pointed stylus to indent lines across this piece and to add faux
screws, as illustrated.
6.     Cut two shovel braces from the aluminum sheeting, slightly rounding off
corners.  Use E600 to glue to front of shovel.  Indent screw faux screw holes
7.     Lay the blade on a giving surface, such as your knee, and roll over the
bottom half of it with something like a round dowel or pencil to slightly curve
it forward.
8.     Cut a 3-1/4” length of 3/32” round dowel.  Note: as seen the dowel
handle is smaller but I decided it needed to be bigger, so do as I say
not as I did.  Sharpen one end to a point and round off the other end. 
Use the aging medium to weather.
9.     From the aluminum sheeting cut a handle ferrule ½” x 5/16”.  Wrap the
ferrule around the pointed end of the handle, seam to back.  With the handle
on a flat surface press down on either side of the pointed end, causing the
sides of the ferrule to flatten.  Pull the handle out of the ferrule, add a dot
of E600 glue and insert it back into the ferrule.  Glue the handle by its ferrule
 to the blade.
10.  From aluminum cut a handle brace 3/32” x ½”.   Slightly round off the
corners.  Lay this brace over the handle, placed as shown.  Press down on
each side of the brace to flatten it on either side.  Use E600 to adhere the
 brace in place.  Emboss a screw head into each end.
11.  Use the aging medium to weather the metal pieces.

Click on picture and save to computer


Print out bag on bright white paper.  Score between bag back and tabs &
between front and back of bag.  Glue bag front over tabs.  When glue has
 set scrounge up the bag a bit. Fill bag with sand.  Glue top closed.

Click on picture and save to computer

The trees are stems from commercial dried foliage.  I have found that there are
many types that work well.  I always seem have lots of stems left over after snipping
off the foliage…and in the mode of a true miniaturist, one never tosses anything. 
 After choosing your stems strengthen them by painting them with a half and half
coat of craft glue and water.  Some stems may need a bit more bulk, especially
 towards their bottoms.  To add the bulk, wrap with layers of brown floral tape
(craft store purchase...if you have not worked with floral tape before, the process
involves stretching the tape as you twist it on…it is self-sticking).  Brush on Spackle
Plant trees in place on the base with a bit of glue, poking down thru the Styrofoam.  

The handsome female St. Bernard is a 1:12 figure from Schleich .  There is also a standing male to be had.
Either could be harnessed to the sled if desired.  Their site will find a dealer
in your area.  I found mine at our local feed store.

The two squirrels under the trees are cut from a Lemax figurine.  Lemax has
quite a few animals that are in good scale and with the aid of a Dremel Moto
Tool (and good dust mask) can be cut from their original bases.  They are
then embedded in the base with Spackle filling in as needed.
Woodland Animals # 12516, Set Of 4 Polyresin Figures


No sledding here in the lowlands of the Pacific Northwest, but lots and lots of rain.  It is what keeps everything so green in this lovely part of the world, but oft times I do worry about my feet morphing into webbed toes.  For me rainy and dreary outdoors is the perfect excuse to hole-up in the studio and create to "brighter days"

So although it seems like I just packed away Christmas it is almost time to think
of hearts, cupids, and such.....ah yes, Valentine's Day....
Expect an invitation to a Party!



Sunday, January 9, 2011



Wind and bird and brook are still,
Frosty hush on every hill!
Quiet as I can I go
Up this quiet steep of snow,
Lest I break, with step or sigh,
What other creatures, less than I,
Keep in awed and gentled mood;
Silence of a winter wood.

by Eleanor Elizabeth Stevens

I hope everyone had wonderful, love filled, creative holidays and that you are
ready for another do-it-yourself, miniature project.  I dreamed up 
Winter Chores in between baking, wrapping, & entertaining and brought it to
fruititon after the 1st.  It is always fun to see one’s imagination brought to life! 

This little vignette is perfect for January display, so let’s get to work.  Enjoy!



Winter Chores sits on a simple, white 5” X 7” purchased wooden picture frame.
Remove everything from the frame.  Cut a sturdy cardboard (I used .080
 (approx.. 3/32” thick)acid-free Davey Board) rectangle to fit in the frame.
Glue it in place.  We will be using the back of the frame because it has more
room.  Cut a piece of sheet Styrofoam to fit in the frame and slice it so that it
is even with the top edge of the frame; glue in place. 

Use lightweight spackling compound (hardware store purchase, DAP
Fast ’N Final used here…make sure to read the label instructions before
use) to “frost” about a ¼” thick layer of “snow” over the Styrofoam.  Let it
flow over the top of the frame and down the sides a bit, here and there. 
Smooth as much as possible.  Let the spackle set…this could take several
hours or overnight.

Once the spackle has set you may carve a path into it where our boy has
shoveled the snow, adding heaps of snow (more spackle) along the outer
edges of the path.  You may poke or cut thru the snow to insert the mailbox
post, treetrunks and indent for the dog body, etc.  Patches of soil may be
exposed here snd there. 
The spackle may be  smoothed with a bit of water.
 I do suggest that you do as I did and wait until all the major pieces are ready
before making your path etc. so you can create to them rather than the other
way around.  After you have
your snow the way you want it I suggest you spray it with a clear matt fixative
to protect it from dust, etc. 



This child started “life” as a Fisher Price Loving Family figure.  These figures
are inexpensive, well made, articulated pieces that with a bit of help can
become interesting additions to our vignettes.   As far as I can tell he is only
sold with the grandmother, as seen here.
 Starting with the shoes: You may choose to simply paint them brown or
black to resemble boots or you may do as I did; cut the little fingers off of a
pair of women’s brown leather gloves and stretch them over the feet, trimming
excess leather off at the crease in the pants just above the bottom of the pants. 
Hold top edges of leather to figure with glue.
Pants:  These are made of felt, wool if possible…your choice of color.  
To shrink the thickness of the felt, first soak it in water and stretch it in all
directions a bit.  Then steam iron it with pressure until dry.  Cut two pieces
of the prepared felt 2”H x 2”W.  Slit up the centers  1 ⅛” from one end. 
Apply a coat of strong craft glue, such as Crafter’s Pick Incredibly Tacky,
to one side of one of the pieces and to the back of the lower torso of the boy. 
Press on the pants back and mold it to the body…if using wool this will be an
easier job than with synthetic fibers.  Trim off excess fabric.  Repeat
procedure for the pants front, trimming both the front and back so they meet
at as a side and inner leg seam.  The pants should end just at the top of
the boots.  The whole process can take a bit of time but it does work. 
Of course if your talent is such you may choose to sew the pants on the body.
Sweater:  The sweater and the hat are made from a pair of inexpensive ladies
acrylic gloves.  For the sweater cut off the thumb.  Make a slit in the closed
end for the neck and a hole on either side for the arms to fit thru.  Pull it on
over the head, inserting arms in holes.  Glue the bottom edge over the pants. 
Cut the other thumb free and cut it in two, lengthwise.  Use the two halves
to make the sleeves of the sweater, gluing in place to meet the arm holes
of the body of the sweater, with the seam running from under arm.  Trim
all over as needed for a good fit.
Hat:  Cut off a middle finger of a glove.  Turn it inside out and fit it over the
boy’ head until it fits as you would like.  Sew the top gathered together at
the top of the head, trim off excess and turn right side out.  Put hat back
on head and glue to hold in place.
Scarf: Cut a piece of felt 6” long and ½” wide.  Paint glue on the back of the
bottom ½”of each end.  When glue has dried, fringe the ends.  Wrap scarf
around neck with one end in front and the other in the back.
Gloves: Paint hands with Gesso  and when dry with acrylic paint.  If the
gloves look shiny add a coat of matt medium or another matt finish.
Face:  To take away some of the sheen on the skin I dusted it with facial
powder.  Red artist chalk applied with a brush added rosy cheeks and lips. 
A dot of clear nail enamel was added to the eyes (don’t disturb the nail
enamel as it sets as it will remove any paint it touches).   

These two pieces should keep you busy for a couple of days.  Come back
then for the rest of Winter Chores.

I am so flattered by the overwhelming response to my blog from all over the world...a special hello to Sweden & Portugal.

Do leave a comment to let me know if you are enjoying the project and how
it is going for you....I do like to hear from you, it makes the creating more


Be looking for more project kits soon.  Sugar & Spice was so popular
it has inspired Charlotte (HoundDog Studio) & I to offer you more.