Monday, November 21, 2011

Rough Guide to Ruffs - part 1

Hello there! Me again :D
I've got several tutorials ready, part-ready, or existing still mainly in the unsorted scary attic known as My Mind. In the past I've had a couple of projects printed in a miniatures magazine, but that's probably not going to happen anymore - the amount of preparation and thinking-time involved is immense! So I'm thinking of offering some of these ideas to my blogfriends. This all might be seen as a way of avoiding carrying on with my current little medieval weaver's house, and that would be true - it's languishing out of sight, but not unloved. So here's how I made an Elizabethan ruff. I had this written-up almost completely, so you 're going to get it all, including the introductory waffle :D

An Elizabethan ruff in 12th scale

The iconic accessory to Elizabethan dress, ruffs were worn by both men and women in England as well as all through Europe.
Ruffs were in vogue from the second half of the 16th century to the early 17th century, and their size, shape and settings (the way the edges were arranged) varied greatly during this time. Ruffs from Holland were known for their exceptionally fine fabric and delicacy of set. English ruffs tended to be larger with wide loose sets, the better for adding lace to the edge. English ones are much easier to make in 1:12!
The expense involved in these ruffs, including the labour of handspinning and handweaving the ultra-fine cloth and the lace, as well as the constant employment of those involved in washing and re-setting them, was frowned upon by the puritanically-minded. They called ruffs 'the cartwheels of the devil's chariot of pride', and starch 'the devil's liquor'. The rich, however, didn't care - if you had money, you flaunted it!
They can't have been comfortable to wear, and a shower of rain would ruin them until the next starching. Spoons sometimes had to have very long handles!
A clever laundress could set a ruff with starch and hot irons in many different ways - figure-of eight, inverted Vs, rounded sets, flat sets, multi-layered, etc. Coloured starch was popular in England - it could be coloured yellow, red, blue or purple, and more. A blue starch was often used to give the illusion of bright white, a practice which existed until recently with 'blue bags' in the rinse.
I have designed this ruff to include tiny beads in the underlayer. This helps to keep the sets, or pleats, consistent.

Materials needed for a plain white ruff
fabric - a 45cm square of finely woven white pure cotton
PVA glue
sharp pencil
long fine-edged ruler
graph paper with 2mm squares
white sewing cotton #40
beads - approx. 55 x 1.5mm colourless transparent
(- Mill Hill Beads #00161 recommended)
beading needle
fine sewing needle
needle threader (optional)
sharp scissors
fine sharp awl or large sharp needle
paper towel


'1.5mm bead' means that the bead measures 1.5mm along the centre hole. An easy way to measure them is to thread 10 of them together and this will measure 15mm.

Because fabrics may vary slightly in thickness, and beads may also vary slightly, this will affect the length of fabric and number of beads needed. It is best to cut the fabric longer than needed, rather than run short. It can be trimmed later to suit.

Working a sample first is recommended to get used to the method. Making the ruff requires very gentle handling throughout, so as not to stretch the bias fabric or risk fraying.

End of part 1.

Rough Guide to Ruffs - part 2

Continuing my enthralling little adventure in making uncomfortable neckwear for dolls.
Now read on . . .


Refer to the photos as you work.

Step 1
Prepare the fabric. It needs to be stiffened to hold its sets properly, and also to help avoid fraying.

Make up a solution of 1 part PVA glue to 20 parts water.
Soak the fabric in this, then squeeze to remove excess glue.
Place on a flat clean non-porous surface (glass, kitchen bench, etc), and stretch it out so the weave lies straight in both directions. Smooth and stretch the fabric as flat and straight as possible. Let it dry.

Step 2
The ruff is cut on the bias to prevent fraying.
Be sure that at all times you take care not to stretch the bias fabric or your ruff will be mis-shapen.

Your ruff will take a length of fabric about 55cm long, but cut as long a piece as possible to make sure you will have enough to play with.
Place a ruler across the fabric at an angle of 45 degrees.
Make a fold in the fabric along the ruler, then replace the ruler on top this fold and press down hard to fix the fold in place. Don't rub your fingers along the fabric fold as this will stretch it.
This fold line will be the neck edge of the ruff.

Mark a pencil line 5mm from the fold. Open the fabric out and cut just inside this line so the pencil mark is cut away.
Cutting the first line

Mark another pencil line 14mm away from the other side of the fold. Do not cut it yet.

Step 3
Marking the sewing holes.
Prepare the graph paper by cutting it along one of the longest lines.

Pattern for punched holes, on a 2mm grid

The first row of holes (for the neck gathering thread) is punched at 4mm intervals, 2mm away from the folded edge. The second row of holes (for the beading thread) is punched at 4mm intervals to match the gathering thread, and at 8mm from the folded edge (6mm from the first row of holes). See photo.
Note: you could use pencil to mark the dots straight onto the fabric, but I found that it showed through the fabric, and there is a risk of it smudging with handling.

Punching the holes

Fold the paper towel several times to form a pad for making holes with the awl or needle. Place this on top of a bread board or cutting mat, as the holes will mark the working surface.
Place the folded fabric on top of this, then the graph paper, matching the edge to the fold.
Punch marker holes through all thicknesses all the way along the fabric, using the fine awl or large sharp needle.

Step 4

Remember to handle gently, being careful not stretch the fabric.

Threading the ruff - sample shown with coloured thread and beads for clarity

Thread the beading needle with a length of sewing thread 15cm longer than the length of the fabric. Make the knot about 10cm from the end (this end will be used to tie the ruff). Working from right to left, the knot should start at the back of the strip.
Starting about 15mm from the end of the strip, thread the beads as shown in the photo. Work until you have threaded 62 beads, ending with the thread exiting underneath.

Do not pull the thread tight yet - leave it flat in the fabric.
Sew a line of gathering stitches along the holes on the folded edge, taking in both layers, according to the diagram, until it is the same length as the beading thread.

Now cut the fabric 1mm inside the second pencil line, making the threaded strip 13mm wide.

Gently pull up and tighten both threads, taking care that the ruff folds are neat. The neck edge will pull up shorter than the beaded line.

End of part 2!

Rough Guide to Ruffs - part 3

Here's the final part in making an Elizabethan ruff

Step 5
Check the size.

Gathering the ruff and checking the size

Draw a circle with a 4cm diameter, and add a centre circle for the neck of 12mm diameter.
I recommend using a photocopy of the circle pattern - I drew my original pattern in pencil and it smudged the fabric.
Check to see if your ruff matches these circles.
The neck edge (the circumference of the 12mm circle) should measure 38mm.

Note: the beads and folded edge will sit underneath so that they don't show.

Troubleshooting Step 5:
If the size of your beads or the thickness of the fabric varies from the sample, your ruff will need to be adjusted to fit the circle -
If the outside edge is too long, remove some beads until it fits the circle.
If the outside edge is too short, add beads (adding gathering stitches at neck edge to match).

If the neck edge is too short, loosen the gathering thread until it fits, adjusting the folds evenly.
If the neck edge is just a little too long (maybe because you had to add beads or your fabric is thick), remove a few gathering threads (you will have to remove a corresponding length of beads to match) - the bead edge can then be slightly loosened evenly all round.
If the neck edge is far too long then the fabric is probably too thick. Re-make the ruff omitting the extra folded layer on the neck edge.

Whatever adjustments you may make, be sure that the thread ends from the gathering thread and the beading thread exit at the same point.

Step 6

The topside of the ruff

The underside of the ruff

When you are happy with your ruff, fasten the threads by tying. If you want your doll to wear it, make the knots so they can be undone. You can secure the knots with a tiny dab of glue if you wish. Trim any excess fabric from the ends on the underside. The gathering thread can be left long as a decorative tie with tiny beads or tassels on the ends.

Step 7 (optional)
Neck lining.
A piece of fabric can be glued neatly to the neck edge if desired. This may be necessary if you decided to have a raw unfolded edge as described in Step 5. Trim flush with neck edge to neaten. The neck edge is best done after the gathers are pulled tight and shaped in a circle, to avoid puckering on the neck band.

You can cut the bias strip on an angle shallower than 45 degrees, but there is more risk of having a frayed edge on your ruff.

If you want to rescue any waste fabric, it can be soaked in water then rinsed well to remove most of the glue.

Recommended reading:
Janet Arnold 'Patterns of Fashion 4'

That's all!


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Still here

Hello, everyone - sorry about the long silence. I've had a rough winter of ill health and an old problem of fatigue has re-appeared :(

I haven't done anything on my little weaver's house for ages, but the spring weather's working its magic, and I'm looking forward to starting on it again.

Thanks to those who have contacted me about being absent - it's good to have friends around the world!

Best wishes to you all!

xxx Glenda

Friday, July 15, 2011

A medieval perspective

In contemporary medieval paintings and woodcuts there wasn't a great emphasis on what we see as 'proper' perspective. However, in the picture above, and looking at many other illustrations, it seems consistent that fireplaces were not deep, and mantelpieces were often very high. Controlling the smoke must have been difficult!

I've attempted this look in the fireplace of my weaver's house - and to be honest, it just looks odd!! It's probably to do with the relative height and size of the room, or something like that. I've thought about changing it, but I'm getting used to it, and anyway it's already glued in! We'll just have to see what difference some furniture makes to the room. . .

I admit to having a liking for books for 'young adults' (teenagers) both for non-fiction and for fiction. They're usually simply honest, straightforward and uncluttered.

Here are the two which I use a lot for when I make medieval stuff.
The first is in the Eyewitness Guides section of Dorling Kindersley - 'Medieval Life'. The photos and text are clear and simple - including everyday objects from all types of activities.
The second book is a Dover reproduction of a 1931 book on how to create medieval costume and accessories. It seems to have been aimed at people who wanted to dress up for costume parties, which were a popular home entertainment in simpler times. The details are probably not quite historically accurate, but it's enough for me when I'm making miniatures :) The book includes contemporary medieval illustrations, suggestions for costumes and accessories (not actual patterns but easy enough to make up), and quite good text to fill out the details.

And a general rant about reading
As for my liking for young adult fiction? Faves from my childhood are too many to list, but Rosemary Sutcliff has always been the absolute best for me. I tend towards British authors, probably because when I was young in New Zealand, Britain was still regarded as 'home' for us colonials, even though my family had been here since the 1840s! The strange thing is that when I visited Britain, it did feel as if it I was home. Family history? Tribal memories? Reincarnation? Who knows?

Authors I've found later in life and loved are Eva Ibbotson (reading her is like drinking champagne!), Susan Cooper (The Dark is Rising), Philip Pullman, Philip Reeve, Terry Pratchett (brilliant!!!), Ursula le Guin, JRR Tolkien . . . to name a few.
I do love reading! Science fiction, history, non-fiction . . . bring it on!!


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Making haste slowly

I've spent two days trying to make a quarter scale cauldron. Do not try this at home. Aaaaagh!! Having come to the point of whimpering 'life's too short for this . . .' I got out some 1:48 kits and relaxed by putting this furniture together.
They're next to a 1:12 scale chair :) It's surprising how quickly you get used to working with smaller scale - it was a real shock to hold the huge 1:12 chair, lol.

The gothic chair is from Karen Cary's Miniatures. I stained it with a mix of two parts raw umber and one part raw sienna acrylic paint. This was diluted with two parts water, painted on and then wiped off with a rag. The dilution means that you can repeat the application if you want to change the depth of colour. I used a piece of leather for the cushion.

The bench kit is from The Quarter Source. It's stained with a mix of one part raw umber to two parts raw sienna, applied in the same way, to look like newer oak wood.

Both kits are great - good instructions and fun to make :)
And here is the kitchen so far. I've aged the floor a bit, and added soot stains to the wall. The ash pile on the stove top is made of a mix of coarse texture gel, PVA glue, pale grey paint, and a few bits of larger texture (I used dried chopped rosehips - smells nice too!). After making the little pile, I grated chalk onto the wet mix and let it dry. It helps to mask the rest of the room when you do this to stop the chalk accidentally being rubbed in anywhere. When it's dry, rub the chalk into the pile and shake the rest off

More things I'm learning about quarter scale -
* don't cut your fingernails too short, you'll need all the help you can get, to pick things up!
* don't drink too much coffee!!! Even a little jitter is horribly magnified
* get the very best tweezers you can find, and keep them thoroughly clean
* keep all bits in a container - they get lost very easily
* anything wrong with a mini will definitely show up in a photo - I just enlarged the pic of the chairs, and the leather cushion looks like a slice of cheesecake, lol :D

Still enjoying it!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

1:48 Learning to simplify

I should take my own advice and stop trying to stuff too much detail into quarter scale :)
This is the fifth, the most simple, and (please!!) let it be the final version of the medieval stove.
It's all made of card - painted, with a gesso texture on the white bits.

There'll be a chimney hood above it to catch the smoke, but a lot of soot will go on the cooktop and back wall. Cooking in medieval houses must have been messy and smelly! They just made a fire on the stone cooktop cooked things around or above it.
As for a bread oven - my weaver is out of luck. He's going to have to go out and buy his loaves - he'll be too busy weaving to make bread anyway :)

The stove will be sitting in the corner of the kitchen near the Stairway to Nowhere (cheating! - just a hint of a stairwell to the top floor).


Monday, June 27, 2011

Tiles, colour, and the heart of darkness

Ok. I'm finding quarter scale fascinating in its little way. Let me tell you about the kitchen floor so far.

This floor is going to have typical medieval tiles - square ones in a red oxide colour. Finding card and scoring it at 1/8th" intervals is easy (once you learn not to use card that's too shiny because it won't take the paint, or too rough because the scoring gets torn . . . or a tool that's not too sharp or too blunt . . .).
After a couple of tests painting it, I learned to start with a 1:1 wash of red oxide (acrylic paint) to water, so that this first colour seeps right down into the score-lines. Full strength paint just won't get in there without rubbing too hard with the brush, which messes the lines.

Then the full strength paint, and the tiles are the perfect colour . . . you think . . . *evil laughter from the crypt*
Here's the thing about quarter scale - it's dark in there. Those tiny rooms have a lot less light entering and reflecting than in larger scales, so the colours are shaded and detail is lost, never to be seen again.
It makes me think that this would be a truly accurate representation of ancient houses, but I want my minis visible!

LED lighting in the house would maybe overcome this in some ways (or complicate it further!), but I'd rather get it looking right without electricity at present.
Here's a photo of some of the tests. I tried pencil and pen lines to accentuate the scored lines - pencil looks too shiny, and the .3mm pen was too thick.
Sealing with a mix of 1:1 PVA glue to water will darken the tiles slightly.
The final result - the end of my rambling story is that the tiles have only two light washes of 1:1 paint/water. (This photo makes the tiles look darker than they are.)
And I have to say that the Darkness Within also made me decide to re-paint my lovely off-white walls with a titanium white paint wash (usually I really don't like bright white) - and it now looks just as I wanted it to . . . :)

The interplay of colour, light and texture are intriguing and 'never the same twice'. This is fun.

Thanks for your patience with my ramblings, and if you're not a miniaturist and stumbled here by mistake, please be assured that miniatures is not a Dark Art, and we aren't really all this obsessed about odd stuff. Well, not much, anyway.

Some conclusions - light and bright shabby chic, large-windowed modern, or pale Shaker, etc would suit quarter scale nicely. Single roomboxes, not too deep, would maybe be a wiser choice if you want a dark setting.

Next - the kitchen cooktop and chimney. I'm currently working on Version Number Five . . . :)


Sunday, June 26, 2011

1:48 breads

It's such a pleasure when you order miniatures, and something arrives that is absolutely perfect.
These quarter scale loaves and buns are delightful! So tiny, and beautifully presented!! The largest buns are only 2mm (1/16") across.
They come from the friendly Ruth at Stewart Dollhouse Creations, where there's a fabulous range of handmade minis offered. It's well worth a visit if you like mini cakes, cross stitch, artwork, wallpaper, laser-cut doilies, and lots more. Lots of 1:24 and 1:48 scale minis, too.
Check out the butterflies, and the Mona Lisa cross stitch kit :)

This bread is happily going into my medieval kitchen. It's not that easy finding medieval food in this scale, as most quarter scale seems to be aimed at modern settings. I'm very grateful to find such a good website - I'm amazed by this tiny food. There'd be some some very bad language if I tried to make it! :)


Friday, June 17, 2011

Walls and pears

Behold, I've been purchasing fruit :) Vicky Guile's quarter scale pears - they are absolutely amazing!! I can't believe how Vicky has made these tinies so exquisitely perfect!!
They are in a beautiful little bowl by The Helmers - the bowl measures 3/16" across the top, to give you an idea of the size.

I have to ask myself why I'm now trying to work in an even smaller scale - 1:48 - as my eyesight gets worse. No, no, it's not old age; I've found out that I have a rare condition - I'm analog, and the world is digital! :)

My little medieval weaver's cottage is progressing , but mainly in my imagination - there's so much to sort out before the kit is put together; the interior walls and floors have to be finished before gluing, and before that I have to decide where the fireplaces, staircase, internal doors, kitchen stove, etc are all going to be.
I can shut my eyes and happily wander around the house, re-arranging things and trying to avoid those 'oh damn' (or worse) moments later in the build. Otherwise known as daydreaming :D
One moment in the midle of the night was 'Aaagh! Did they have spinning wheels in the middle ages??' My house has now moved to Late Medieval . . . :)

Now, dear Reader, the story of the walls so far.
I love paperclay, it takes dilute colour washes so well, and the texture is great for old fashioned 'whitewashed' walls. In quarter scale though it's much too thick. I tried watering it down to make a paintable slurry, but that didn't work well enough.
So now - gesso, which has a little more texture than plain flat paint. To combat the over-bright white colour, and to get a better surface to apply colourwash, I added some finely grated chalk. At first I mixed the chalk into the paint - this was too textured and difficult to manage (but I'm saving that for 1:12 projects later).
So the final method is here - steps 1-8 are from left to right in the pic:
1. Paint gesso on to the board. (These boards were sealed first with diluted PVA - this might not be necessary as gesso is in itself a sealer. If you are going to make the gesso really thin, add some acrylic paint to the PVA/water sealer as a coloured undercoat)
2. Stipple/dab the surface of the wet gesso very lightly with a screwed-up paper napkin. The lighter you dab, the tinier the stippling. This removes brush marks, which, believe me, you do not want in this scale!
3. Grate a very fine light layer of chalk evenly over the whole surface while the gesso is wet. I used a tool I found in the manicure section of the supermarket - it looks like a nutmeg grater.
4. Hold the board vertically by the sides and tap the edge gently to release any loose chalk.
5. With a clean screwed-up paper napkin, lightly dab the chalk into the gesso, flattening the stipples, until it looks even.
6. Repeat step 4 when the gesso is half dry, if you want it flatter. (You can also do this with your finger, but dip it in chalk first to avoid fingerprints.)
7. Let it dry.
8. Brush very gently or rub with fine sandpaper to get the texture/finish you want.
9. Apply colour washes.
10. Seal with a mix of 1 part water to 1 part PVA glue. Dab this on rather than brushing or wiping, as the colour may migrate. Clean the brush often.

I'm enjoying quarter scale :D Some of the thoughts I've jotted down are:
It seems quite different from twelfth scale - there is more imagery than detail in the initial impression - illusion rather than perfect miniaturisation.
Shapes have to be unmistakable to avoid cluttering the scene.
Colour seems to have more importance; heavy saturation of colours or brightness can highlight some items and unbalance the whole setting. Shiny things need caution, too.  Choose what you want to show up, and where.

If anyone can add to my meanderings about 1:48, I'd appreciate it! The fewer the mistakes I make, the happier I'll be :)


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Quarter scale

I'd like to welcome all my new followers! I don't deserve you all, as I haven't made any miniatures for many months now!! But thankyou so much for taking an interest in my blog :D
I'll have a little giveaway soon to brighten things up :)

Now that I've successfully moved house, my mini mojo has returned!! Yay!! It was hiding in a teensy corner, and pointing to quarter scale. Yikes, I said, what's going on?? That's not what I expected!
'Start tiny' it said, 'and after that it can only get easier!' Hmmm, I don't know whether to believe this.

Soooo . . . having sorted some more of my family history lately, I've become interested in the ancestors who had a woollen weaving mill in Yorkshire in the 19th century. I have no illusions that it was at all romantic or nice (a certain member of the family was shot by an employee for his harsh treatment of the workers . . .!!), but it started me thinking on the story of my new project. You need a story, don't you, to have a mini come alive? And I love weaving - I'm not very competent, but it's oh so satisfying.
And to continue with one of my favourite time periods - medieval. I just can't stay away :)
I've now got this fabulous little 1:48 kit from Bea Broadwood at Petite Properties which is to become the home and workshop of my medieval weaver (a good man, not an owner of a dark satanic mill). I've chosen this kit because it's an intermediate skill level - if I enjoy 1:48 scale, I'll try something more challenging next time :)
For the same reason, I'm going to use laser-cut kits for the furniture. I did buy one of Bea's excellent books on how to make 1:48 furniture from card and paper, and I'm looking forward to trying this, but some of the kits out there are too tempting!

And a personal update -
Our kitten Toby who went missing - he was killed on the road :( We still have our two older cats who we love dearly.
I'd also like to apologise for my extended absence from blogging - my life got a bit serious for a while. Blogland is a happy place, and I didn't want to inflict my problems on the world :)


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mica Tiles

I've been trying to find a way of simulating old items made of horn (medieval windows, lanterns - 'lant-horns' - , viking drinking horns for quaffing ale, hunting horns, spoons, bowls, etc). In medieval times the outside sheath of cow horn was used just like we use plastic today - it could be cut, heated and shaped, and was waterproof and semi-transparent.

My attempts to make this with polymer clay failed absolutely. No surprise there :)

In my search I've found an interesting product. This is mica, which can now be bought in nicely packaged pieces. Mica is a natural product which can be split into thinner and thinner layers, depending on what you want to do with it. The colour is darker when it is left thick. The thickest piece in this pack is almost 1mm thick, and it splits/delaminates into at least 10-12 tissue-thin layers.
It has interesting natural patterns in it, which make me think it is a reasonably good old fashioned window glass. On an angle it is quite wibbly like old glass. It can look a little like brittle plastic, but it's still nicer than perfect acrylic or perspex.

This Mica Sheet pictured can be bought online in some scrapbooking websites, also on eBay.
Evidently it can be cut with scissors, diecut, punched, stamped, inked, embossed, heated, gilded, painted, etched and stained to resemble coloured glass - I'll have to try this last bit . . .

Anyway, to the point - the company which makes this, USArtQuest, also makes a product called Micacraft Sheet which is reconstituted mica - and this is an orangey 'horn' colour, and it is also able to be heated and bent (you can't bend the ordinary mica sheet). So when I get around to buying some I'll let you know if it works :)


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Make your own leadlights

There's a mini hobbit dwelling somewhere on my 5-year plan. Well, the second five year plan, since it's five years since I first thought of it . . .
This means round windows. And interesting leadlights to fit them.
Most of the commercial round windows available don't look right, or don't open, or are the wrong size.
I've been reminded how satisfying DIY is when I saw the quirky fab doors that the clever ladies Janice, Wendie and Michelle make.
So I thought I'd share with you my hobbit windows so far. This is a quick tutorial on making simple leadlights to suit whatever style or size window you want.
You'll need some smooth black cotton thread. Polyester thread won't work. (Very dark grey thread would look a lot better, but that involves dyeing which I haven't done yet.)
Anyway, black thread - some suitable threads are: DMC coton a broder #16 or #25, - DMC fils a dentelles #70, - DMC perle cotton #5, #8 or #12, - knitting cotton, - fine crochet cotton, - DMC Cordonnet Special #20, #30 or #40, - old fashioned thick sewing cotton.
(DMC 6-strand embroidery cotton might work, but tends to flatten when stiffened.)

Prepare the thread by stiffening it. Soak it in a mix of 1 part PVA glue to 1 part water, then squeeze dry by pulling it through an old lint-free cloth (an old hanky is good), and lay it flat and straight to dry.
In this project I used DMC coton a broder #25, with the heavier DMC perle #5 for the frame.
Draw your leadlight design (in red in the photo) to fit your window. This one has a frame, which is optional.
BTW, elongated diamonds (rather than square diamonds) seem to add height to a room.
Draw a line about 1cm out beyond the frame or edge of the design. Now extend all of the red leadlight lines to meet this (the blue lines in this photo).
Lay the pattern on a pinboard (mine is polystyrene), then lay a piece of stiff plastic on top of that.
Now stretch the stiffened cotton thread along all the parallel lines in one direction, as in the photo. Put pins wherever they are needed to hold the thread in place.
Change direction, and work the parallel lines going the other way. This time, use a crochet hook to weave them under and over alternately - this strengthens the structure.
The weaving completed.
Gluing the threads at all the intersections. I used Aleene's Tacky glue for this. Insert a strip of waste paper under the threads as in the photo, and using a toothpick dab glue into each intersection. Blot the excess glue with a lint-free cloth (a paper towel will leave white fluff) then pull the strip of paper out. Using the paper makes sure that you don't get glassy residue. Use a fresh strip of paper each time.
After each row, readjust the threads to sit accurately on the pattern and let them dry. Then glue the next row. Work until all the intersections are glued and dry.
Stretch the frame threads into place in the same way. I found that just simply turning the corner made the threads bow out, so I extended them outwards. It's starting to look like a rat's nest :)
In the photo all the frame is there and all the strips of waste paper are in place ready to glue the frame.
(If you do the paper one bit at a time you run the risk of shifting the previous threads out of place while you do the next, and the glue drying wrongly.)
Glue quickly, blot it, pull out the waste paper and re-arrange the threads into their correct place.
Make sure that all threads are accurate on the pattern before the glue dries.
When it's dry, pull the pins out carefully (one at a time, holding the threads down with your finger). Gently ease the structure off the plastic so it doesn't pull out of shape.
With very sharp scissors, trim the edge close to the frame, and here's your leadlight!!
Now it has to be attached to your window. I cheerfully admit that I haven't done this yet, but it would need a glue which works on both plastic (window acrylic) and cotton.
Glues that don't work are - PVA, Crafter's Pick, UHU.
I've tried a sample, and found that Judikins Diamond Glaze works well, and Grrrip glue works, but not quite so well. No doubt the amazing glue-anything, viciously stinky, carcinogenic stuff like E6000 would work a treat but I refuse to try them as they make me very ill!
I think that just gluing it at the very edge would be enough, or even only in the corners if your window is small.
If you have made your own window frame, maybe a very thin edge strip of wood or stiffened thread would hold the leadlight in place. If anyone works it out I'd love to hear from you :)
Different shapes and sizes. This technique only works with simple grids - if you want circles and tricky Tudor designs, I think the best way to get them is to bribe a lacemaker to make it for you.
This is a page from an old book I found.

Making the actual windows, which should have come first, now I think of it - frame, hinges, glass, etc, is on the two year plan . . . :D


Friday, February 11, 2011

In print again, twice!

Instructions for how to make my mini floor runners are in Doll's House and Miniatures Scene magazine #199, January 2011 :)))
This post is late as my copy of the magazine arrived very late - I think Planet Earth postal systems are routed via the moon sometimes :D
And my Finnish Lakehouse appeared in the Finnish Miniatures magazine Nukkekoti - I feel a bit odd (but flattered) about showing this in Finland - what's that saying "taking coals to Newcastle"?

I still haven't got my mini-mojo back, it's probably in the post, haha!! :D


Saturday, January 29, 2011

The enchanter's tower

Greetings, and welcome to the tower! The resident enchanter (he's shy about his name) is here to show you - his respected visitors - through his modest dwelling.
He hasn't yet noticed the book which he was searching for earlier - it was left out in the rain after his twilight walk last night searching for herbs!! He's not going to be happy about that . . .
He asks your patience while he completes a small task at his desk.
Here is the lower level - this is his workroom. He has his pet owl inside today, as mice have been seen inside.
Another view, with the ladder to the top floor.
Upstairs is where he sleeps and reads, and sometimes plays the lute when he is in the mood.
Details of the workroom.
And another view.

He hopes that you have enjoyed your little tour - and he would like to thank the following people for their beautiful works which have made his home so very comfortable to live in -

Ericka Van Horn - books, scrolls, printies, potions
Lorraine - dribbly candles, skull, curly wand, witch accessories
Kiva and Carol Cook - food
Norma - printies, open books, wall hanging, wooden chest downstairs
Nikki - dribbly candles, unicorn horn
Honey and Bee - specimen jars, glass inkwell
Annie - horn on mantelpiece
Teresa/Northern Lites Miniatures - owl
Kiva Ford - tall clear bottle
Patricia Paul - bird skulls
Merry Gourmet Miniatures - leather wineskin