Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Honeydukes Welcomes Its First Customers..............

Little bit of a delay in throwing open the doors as real scale life got in the way yesterday but as you can see three little witches by Silke Janas-Schlosser have had lots of fun.
 Inside the shop floor is looking pretty busy too.
 There is even a 'hostess with the mostest' displaying a tray of goodies. This candy witch is by Jain Squires and the Malfoy Family Hogwarts 1st year is by Julie Campbell.
 The counter looks pretty crowded and one little wizard definitely has his hands full.
 I am lucky enough to have a lot of mini dolls so I have been able to fill the shop up quite nicely. One of the good things about Harry Potter inspired scenes is that you don't have to worry about time periods or what clothes your characters should wear as the costumes are so varied.
 These dolls are b Jo Medvenic, Debie Lyons and Jain Squires.
These two 1950's boys and little witch are by Julie Campbell. The little girls are by Jo Medvenics.
So the shop is sort of full. As time goes by I will probably fill the shop with more 1940/1950's dolls to give the shop more of a retro feel but this will be achieved over many years. For now the whole project has come to an end and I can at last move on.
What's next? Here's a clue.
I am off to the Rugby World Cup tomorrow at the Olympic Stadium which should be fun , so no minis for me for a couple of days which is a little annoying as I am keen to get going. 
I am hoping this one won't take quite so long!!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Mrs Flume is busy........Honeydukes Awaits Its First Customers.

Be prepared for a photo overload in this post. I just couldn't stop myself today as Honeydukes was moved from the work station and onto the finished position. Plus I can't stop say "finished"!!
This is my Honeydukes exterior. It is quite a large shop so it will be staying in the workshop with my other Hogsmeade projects. The whole design is inspired by the Honeydukes in Universal Studios both outside and in.  
 Mine is smaller and doesn't have snow also I have chosen to have the pink windows seen from other aspects of the shop as I wanted it to be a bit more cheery and a little less weathered to match the pristine interior.
I have kept the exterior simple mainly because of the dust that generates in my workshop so the side wall has three stacks waiting for delivery and a broom rack for customers to leave their modes of transport. 
I bought the crates off Ebay and added the lids and labels. I probably could have made them from scratch but I have been racing to the finish line and knew they would take me a while to put together. 
 I have just stained them with two coats of light oak wood stain and then waxed.
The larger Weasley box I made up myself and added Googled images. A quick and cheap fix that I don't have to worry about getting dusty or fading.
 The broom stand is made up from scrap wood and dowels cut from a kebab stick. Hark at me getting all technical.....dowels! Ha, ha!! The broomsticks have been in my Harry Potter collection for years and are by Nikki Rowe, Kat the Hat Lady and various others. I have added a few bows and charms to some of them. I was going to put up signs and may still do.........one day!
The guttering is a kit from Sussex Crafts that I have painted and fitted together. Of course where there are witches and wizards there must be a cat so here is Mrs Flume's ginger tom by Miss Sally's World.
This is the interior as a whole. I have made the majority of the sweets, lollipops and canes with the addition of Fimo canes and Nikki Rowe plus a few bits and bobs picked up over the last couple of years. Mrs Flume is busy checking her stock, a wonderful commissioned character by the talented Jo of Pocket Pygmies.
After re-positioning the shop I was very relieved to discover the lights by Small World Products were still working! The Bats' Blood Soup display is ready for lollipops to be dipped into. I made up this box for the dipping cauldron and went for pink to match the staircase but I am still not sure if it should be green......The side of the shelves have been infested with sugared candy mice from Matlock Miniatures. They have been painted and covered with sugar/glitter.
Here you can see the Bertie Botts display on the back wall where it sits very proudly. The false boxes have worked out perfectly.
This is a large cauldron by Sussex crafts that I filled with Fimo scraps and then stuck in some longer lollies and canes then baked. I then poured in liquid Fimo that I had coloured with oil paint. I think I added a bit too much paint so it is a little darker than I really wanted. The canes have also gone a bit limp during the additional bakings but hey ho! The bubbles have been formed by pouring and dribbling the liquid Fimo over the translucent glass beads I bought from OOAK Artist Emporium. I have used the smallest sized bead here.
In order to get an over flowing cauldron I poured and teased the liquid Fimo over the lip of the cauldron and let it flow as much as I could. This was all done on a glass tile that I could put straight in the oven to bake.  I baked the cauldron and all the contents for about the 4th time and the flowing liquid Fimo hardened to create the dripping over flow I was after.  
The cauldron display was then finished off with a selection of lollipops. Hmmmm, still not sure about the pink.
The counter, made as a commission by Rob Lucas of World of My Own Miniatures, has been filled with a whole range of goodies including the scales which are a kit by Phoenix Models. There is also a perfectly formed pink cup of cream topped coffee by Paris Miniatures, who have just released their new Pink Collection, do have a look in their shop the range gorgeous. 
The toffee apples are by Nikki Rowe and the ice creams are by Erika Van Horne. There are also some candied skulls, Ton-Tongue Toffee and various Honeydukes sweeties. The glass stands are from a new glass supplier I recently discovered on Etsy called Global Miniatures. They stock a whole variety of dolls house supplies but I have only ordered glass pieces so far. I have been really impressed with the quality and variety on offer.
 The second counter top has a Honeydukes chocolate display, another gorgeous cake stand and my own effort mad up from jewellery findings and spray painted.
The bottom of the spiral staircase has been lined with cans and candy canes. Just because I felt there were not enough sweets in the shop!!
 To finish a last look at Mrs Flume and the Fizzing Wizzbees I have added as a last Harry Potter touch. 
Phew, this has been a long and slightly self indulgent post but I will sign off now by saying.....once again.....Honeydukes is finished and opens for business tomorrow!!
Can't help smiling when I write the most wonderful of 'F' words!!
Have a great evening.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Last Job Done....Bertie Botts Display and Honeydukes is Finished!!

I have had a little blog break for a number of reasons: there are only so many posts you can do on the real donkey work of sweet making and displays, summer gardening and the return of my youngest from places far away in time for the departure of my daughter for a place even further away. I have had time to achieve what I had long despaired would ever happen........I have finished Honeydukes!!
The last job was completed today, the Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans display.
 I started with a standard white wood bookcase, removed one shelf (after softening the glue) and painted it white. 
 Using Word table function I created the red and white striped tent to cover the bookcase.
 For the bean dispensers I have used plastic test tubes bought from Ebay and cut to size. Each end sealed with jewellery findings from Etsy.
 The bottom of each tube obviously needs a dispensing funnel of some sort and I have used bead caps and spacers collected from various fairs and shows.
 The test tubes have been filled with 2mm beads, I hate that you can see the holes but this display will sit on the back wall so I can live with it.
 I cut the striped tent to size, my second attempt, and strengthened it by sticking it to card. The columns are ones I found on Google search and the lettering has been taken from the original boxes of beans. I was a little concerned that the test tubes wouldn't stick well enough so I left them over night to dry completely.
 On returning to the work shop this morning I was very happy not to find a couple of hundred beads on the floor!!
I tried out various ideas for handles and eventually settled on the one on the left.
 One of the reasons I have been dreading making this display were the number of boxes of beans I needed to fill the bottom shelves. The cutting and shaping of twenty tiny boxes filled me with dread. Then, while walking the dogs, I had a 'Eureka' moment. These two shelves will be at the back of the shop and not hugely visible so a cheat is perfectly acceptable.
I cut two pieces of scrap wood and stuck them to the shelves.
 I then cut off all the tabs and bottoms from the box templates I had already printed out and filled in the windows with fake beans. I scored the boxes as if they were indeed being stuck together and then glued the fakes onto the wood strips.
Ta Dah!! Not a bad effort if I do say so myself. At the next fair I attend I will look for some shallow glass bowls to put under the dispensers but all in all it's done. 
This is the one in the Universal shop.
Of course mine is a lot less complicated but I think it will do the job nicely.
More to come tomorrow with the grand opening of my Honeydukes sweetshop. 

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Honeydukes Numbers 3 and 7.....Not Quite Ticked.

I have been working on the Honeydukes shop counter filling it with lots of magical sweets both with a direct Harry Potter connection and some just for fun!
 The two top shelves are loaded with simple metal trays that I bought at Miniatura a few years ago. I have simply painted them, added sweets and a couple of spoons.
 Much the same with the bottom shelves except they have a sweet tin in the middle.
 Since taking this photo I have topped the tins with a Honeydukes logo as a finishing touch. Not that these will ever be seen!
 These trays include pumpkins by the lovely Lory and chocolate mushrooms and toadstools by Betty's Minis
 I have also been playing with the computer and printer of labelling and those finishing touches
 Each tray now has its wares clearly labelled.
 The counter looks fully loaded with goodies but I have still not decided about items for the top.
 The labelling has added the extra touch I think, especially as I made the decision not to label any of the jars.
I have also been working on the packaging for the two side shelf units that I want to be full of Harry Potter merchandise. The opening of Harry Potter World has certainly been a definite boon as it is possible to find lots of images on Google of all different types of HP products perfect for my projects.
 I struggle with card and paper work, getting myself covered in drying glue and mis-measurements. So as I have a lot of boxes to make I decided to cheat. I am going to cut sizes of balsa wood and cover them with different colours of cardstock papers. 
 These are the first ones off the conveyor belt and I am pleased with the overall look. I will probably have a little bowl with samples on the shelf too.
So far I have made three different types and tried to vary the sizes. I have glazed them in gel medium gloss both to protect and add a bit of shine. I will make quite a few I think as I can then use them either on the counter or have a few piles hanging around the shop floor.
Like all mini jobs these have turned out to be quite time consuming but have generated less cursing than my usual attempts at box making!

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Making Sweets 101 - Part One......Basics for Those of Us With Lots to Learn!!

A few people have been asking where I began when making the sweets for Honeydukes, what you need and how to do it so I thought I would do a couple of posts on really basic hints and tips.
Please remember I am not by any standards an expert on clay or sweet making, I am a home hobbyist who likes to collect so I am sure there are lots of people who know much better ways of doing things but if any of you find these posts helpful I will be glad I helped.
First things first are the items I could not have done without. 
 A basic pasta machine that clamps to your work surface is invaluable for conditioning your clay/Fimo and for giving you nice flat pieces to play with. You must work your Fimo before you start playing with it otherwise it breaks up and splits. I always warm mine up in my bra for about an hour before starting too, this makes it much easier to roll initially.
 Very basic tool kit for me. A small plastic cake roller, it's quite heavy and solid, cheaper than the proper Fimo one but works just as well. A long blade and a simple razor blade with safety cover. A set of tiny plungers in four shapes by Kemper. A large glass cutting board of the type you can buy in most homewares shops. These are perfect for working with Fimo.
Baby wipes of any kind are essential for keeping your board and hands clean. Cling film, of the non PVC type, for wrapping up left over clay and I also have these tiny boxes that I label to put wrapped leftovers in. I got them at Poundland in a packet of eight I think. I also have two glass place mats for baking the clay in the oven.
If you are thinking of doing a sweet shop you will need to buy a lot of Fimo/Premo/Sculpey because you need a variety of colours and types but stick to one brand if you can as you don't seem to be able to mix them. They all behave quite differently and as a beginner I found it much easier to get used to using one type. I bought Fimo as it was readily available in my area but be prepared to spend at least thirty pounds on clay from the start. I bought a variety of Soft and Translucent colours, you need both types for sweets as they give completely different effects.
In this Sweets 101 post I will only be using the Translucent Fimo colours as I want to make Rock Candy for my counter but everything I do today can be done with Fimo Soft normal colours.
 Firstly, I flatten out the Fimo and pass it through the pasta machine.
Take it out, fold it and keep passing it through reducing the thickness of the pasta/Fimo as you work it.
 After a couple of minutes you will end up with a flattened piece ready to use. As I want rock candy I have a piece that is the thickest on my machine but I expect all machines are different and eventually you will work out what is best for you. It has taken a while for me to used to what is best for what I am doing but every mistake I have made has mainly been due to not thinking small enough. Sweets are tiny.
 The most basic of sweets can be made like this, simply cut thin strips and place them on a baking sheet.
 You will end up with long rectangular canes.
 Back the clay goes in the machine and I produce another flat piece but half the thickness. I then slice off a very thin strip.
 These strips are then twirled by hand, really easy, and you can see how different slice thicknesses create different sized twirls. These canes are perfect for candysticks or liquorice wands.
 First tray for the oven. I also rolled out a very simple cane to make circular sweets.
 A very simple spiral cane will produce colourful sweets in a variety of colours. I have rolled out three quite thin strips of Fimo.
 Push the three strips together very gently at one end and then twirl the three strands around each other. Try to keep the thickness of the cane consistent all the way to the bottom. If you notice it is thicker in places simply give that section an extra soft twirl.
From the three strips I have ended up with two multi-coloured canes ready for baking.
 These canes have been produced in exactly the same way.
 Instead of leaving them knobbly I have rolled them out into circular multi-coloured canes.
 Baking Fimo can sometimes cause a surprise. I always put it in my little craft oven at 110 degrees for 20 minutes but here you can see that the yellow canes have all baked quite differently into a variety of shades. I have no idea why but it doesn't make any difference to what I am making.
 Three different ways of using these simple canes. On the left the larger round cane has been sliced into sweets. In the middle the much thinner canes have been sliced into tiny circles and more chunky sweets. The twirly canes show the translucent Fimo quite well, it gives a finish more like boiled/hard candy.
 I have cut up the colours and bagged them. Hopefully you can see the look you can get just by changing the diameter of a strip. 
 The rectangular larger strips I have chopped roughly to produce little piles of rock candy for my counter.
 The multi coloured canes are also sliced ready for bagging.
 These twirly canes are destined to be sugar straws.
As I had the clay out I made a few lemon sweets as I have a feeling I don't have enough sherbert lemons to fill the tray. These will be dusted with fake sugar and hopefully even fool Dumbledor!!
All these methods are a great way to practice as you can get a whole variety of sweets quite quickly.
If you are only looking to add a few sweets to your project there are some great mini confectioners out there. Here are a few of my favourites.
My Tiny World - they sell great chocolate canes and a fabulous range of hand blown jars.
Well, it didn't rain so a few chores were done but the work shop is just too inviting at the moment!