Thursday, 28 March 2013

Off with the Old and on With Slug and Jiggers......

Onwards and upwards with my Diagon Alley projects. I have returned to the apothecary which was going to be Mr Mulpepper's but I have changed my mind. I decided that Slug & Jiggers was the apothecary most linked to all things Potter so the sign writing is done.
It has been a long time since I took this kit off the shelf having done most of the decoration.
The sign writing has been done with stick on lettering and I have to say I am really pleased with the look. I will make it less likely to peel off by giving it a coat of ModgePodge.
I did most of it free hand as I wanted it too look slightly off kilter although I did pencil line the sign to make sure I could fit in both lines of text.
The interior still has all the mouldings and lighting to add but I have been playing around with the shelving.
 The flooring needs to be aged a bit more too I think to make it a little less tan in colour. This is the arrangement I had originally decided upon.
Then I knew my wonderful door needs to be given a little more pride of place so I moved the counter. This way I can have shoppers browsing the shelves and my Apothecary working behind his counter.
Of course you want to see the door. How fabulous is this little man. Created by Jain Squires of The Giddy Kipper isn't he just perfect! I gave Jain the finished door and asked her for a peeking character and she came up with this. I would love one of these in all my projects now, he really brings a boring false door to life.
All my progeny home this weekend which means lots of cooking, washing and tidying so I may have to lay aside my toys for a couple of days. Still they're worth it.
Have a happy Easter time everyone.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

A Trip to the Spring Miniatura and My Cardboard Model of Honeydukes....

Urged on by Nikki Rowe I braved the awful weather of this weekend to attend the Spring Miniatura in Birmingham. In reality the roads were clear and I actually did the drive in less time than usual as there was very little traffic on the motorways. I also took my daughter with me just in case I had to spend the night in the car or dig the car out of any passing snow drift!!
 I was very glad I didn't chicken out when I saw this cheeky young thing.
 My first character for Honeydukes by Jain Squires of The Giddy Kipper....
 I just love the sparkly stockings and pink slippers. She looks like a real bundle of naughty fun and I can see her settled on the pink spiral staircase surrounded by sweeties.
 I also found this very fine glitter dust that seemed perfect for sherbert or sprinkling.
 Julie Campbell's pumpkin is already tucked into a Hogwarts trunk. This went straight into the scene with no time to waste.
 While looking at the baskets of C & D Crafts my daughter, who had been told of my lollipop stick trauma, noticed these little bags of weaving supplies. The longer, thicker pieces look perfect for tall twizzler lollies once I straighten them, while the little sticks were a real find.
Of course I had to buy a couple of baskets for my 'Born to Shop' witches.
 Tony Malin of Smallsorts makes a whole variety of miniatures and custom houses where I spotted these little bags of 'rock candy'. Tony also had the most gorgeous little houses carved out of trunks of wood. I think all three of these had sold out within an hour and a half of the show opening but I know they are taking commissions. 
 I could not resist this trio of owls especially the very studious one!!
Plus they had just the hat I had been looking for to sit on the head of one of my dolls.
I had a lovely day apart meeting up with lots of very talented artisans plus a lively chat with Nikki who was busy looking for items for her very own miniature project!!
There did seem to be quite a few sellers missing from the show maybe due to the weather and the absence of overseas sellers was very noticeable. I hope it proved a profitable weekend for all those artisans who did attend.
 So this is the cardboard model I have made to see if my plans for Honeydukes will actually work. I hope putting the real pieces together will take slightly less time!! The two fron windows will be very tall and have bay fronts.
 I am intending to make the two front and one side windows out of cardboard postal tubes. Debbie Wright of Tiny Treasures used Twiglet tubes for her project but I think mine might need to be a but sturdier as the shop will have to withstand more moving around.
 The general idea being to use the whole tube cut into sections providing shelving within the shop as can be seen in the Warner Bros. store. Plus this seems quite an easy way to do it. Then I will cut out larger wooden/foam board circles to separate the different parts of the windows. 
I think I have worked out all the measurements now and have decided on 6mm MDF. I have also decided to make it in two parts like the Sid Cooke kits, with an upper and lower section.
This is going to be quite a large shop and two pieces might be easier to work with and yes that means I can put off the roof for a little while longer!!
So now I have to see if my local Homebase will cut the larger of the pieces for me as I am not sure my power tool skills will be up to the straight lines required!!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Fancy Staying the Night at The Leaky Cauldron?

The interior of The Leaky Cauldron is as finished as any project can be. The upper guest room is full of young Weasleys who have shopped til one of them has most definitely dropped!! Their cases are full of goodies to get them through a school year and their party dresses are included for the Yule Tide Party.
This room is pretty crammed as all witchy scenes should be so please excuse me if I miss an item that you have made. Just leave a comment and I will add your credits to the post.
Lots of pictures to look at so enjoy!
 The whole scene. Both dolls were made by Julie Campbell and you can see a naughty witch creeping up on her tired cousin. At the front are the over flowing cases of a typical Hogwarts pupil.
 The ginger cat family are from Pocket People. The cabinet at the front, bookcase and closet are all made by Michael Mortimer. The Weasley carrier bag came with a collection of Weasley products from  Little Woo Studio who sells a vast collection of Harry Potter pieces, pricey but well made.
I am sure you can see one of Nikki Rowe's wizard cupcakes and a non-melting ice cream by May Wee
 The mirror ghost is also by Julie Campbell while the pumpkin display on the mantle piece is by Eve of After Dark Miniatures. My sleeping witch likes to cuddle up with her favourite Harry Potter doll by  Lins Things. The Standard Book of Spells and History of Hogwarts were made by Lee Ann Borgia.
The little suede pouch right at the front was made for me by Glenda Howell
 This cauldron is from Sussex Crafts while the witchy-in-the-box is by Jaqueline Dunn.
 The raven toy is also by Jaqueline Dunn as is the tiny pumpkin topped test tube in the trunk. The white mice box was purchased at Miniatura from a seller whose name I can't remember as were the tiny bird nests. The red Birkenstocks, perfect for young witches, are by Patrizia Santi.
 The picture is pretty rubbish as I had to use the flash but I am sure you can see the wonderful tea set made by Lin Cummings pouring out a recuperative cup of pumpkin tea. Sitting alongside is the all important letter from Hogwarts. 
My candles were made by Victoria of Dark Squirrel Miniatures , the owl by Julie Lawton of Cottage Kitty and the dresses were purchased at a small dolls house fair I attended at Kelham Hall a few weeks ago.
 A closer look at the luggage with a whole host of tuck and comics. I made up the Honeyduke chocolate bars but the lolly pops came with a doll I purchased from Silke, I think. The toffee apple is from Hummingbird Miniatures. I made up the Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans from a template I found on the Internet, my thanks to the author of Harry Potter Paraphenalia
Have a great day everyone.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Oooooh, I do love a parcel......And a Quick Look at the Plans

Many thanks to everyone who stepped up with some lollipop tips following yesterday's post. I have been trawling through model railway sites, inspecting my hair brush and looking at florist wire. Checking out new sites for 'other' modellers/crafts is always a very dangerous excercise. I soon became immersed in all the products available to a model train enthusiast so many of which are suited to the miniature hobbyist's world but I was very good and resisted!!
The thing about the lollipops is I feel the sticks have to be white or wooden but really they could be any colour, it's just in my mind lollies have wooden or white sticks!! Sad person that I am.
Nikki Rowe has recently been working on producing her very own faux leather that can be cut with scissors, painted and glued leading to her making a few pieces of luggage. When I saw these two pieces I thought they would be fabulous for Slug and Jiggers as travelling potion cases. 
 The round one is perfect for the travelling witch's beauty necessities  and the larger might well be used by a mobile potion maker. I have an idea they would look very effective as window displays. wonderfully grungy in every way!! 
 I couldn't resist this cupcake board either and was delighted to see the two eggs sitting in the bowl like two little balls of sunshine. This board will go in my printer's tray with my other clay treasures. Filling it up a piece at a time!
 Then how could I resist this little chap? Purchase number two for my new project!!
I have been looking for hand charms recently for door knobs so when I came across this it seemed like a must buy item. The spooky coat hanger was made by Heevis Miniatures.
So having made two purchases for its shelves and dreaming lollipops here is stage one....
......the very rough drawing plans for Hogmeade's Honeydukes with very basic measurements and absolutely no scale at all!!
I am now going to make a cardboard scale model using my measurements to see if it actually works. It is the roof that poses the biggest problem. It needs to be pitched at a very steep angle and be hinged to open. I don't have the woodworking tools to do anything too fancy with the MDF so I am not quite sure how I am going to get the roof to sit flat.
Looks like I will be dreaming roofs tonight!!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Luggage for Hogwarts.....New Plans for 2013

I have put the potions that I have completed away and returned to The Leaky Cauldron. My plan for the next couple of weeks is to dress the upstairs bedroom where my two Hogwarts students are packing their shopping keen to start the new school year.
 I purchased two matching pieces from Sue Popely, The Luggage Lady from Miniatura a couple of years ago. They are beautifully crafted and it was with some trepidation that I began to'dirty' them!!
I brushed a thin wash of acrylic paint onto the pretty cotton inner fabric and attacked the smooth leather with and emery board!! 
 The outsides have been 'decorated' with various labels you might expect to be popular with Gryffindor Hogwarts students. I am now going to fill them with an over flowing selection of witchy girlie necessities.
While out and about last week I saw this in The Range and being a bit of a craft materials junkie I had to bring it home with me. Clay Foam.....very cheap and cheerful. No idea what it does or what I am going to do with it. Anyone used it?
Inspired by the amazing buildings of Jo Medvics  of Pocket Pygmies and Debbie Wright's fabulous project I have decided that my project for 2013 will be a complete self build. So far I have completed the draft plans and drawings and made one purchase from one of my favourite artisans, Nikki Rowe
A big clue I think!! My mind has been full of the ways and means of copying this building....
......I am not going to make the whole building as it would be much too large so I will limit myself to the tall bay windows and a steep pitched roof with a smattering of dormer windows.
This is the first HP project where I intend to stay very close to the movie/Hogsmeade representation as I cannot resist the now iconic colour combination and pink spiral staircase!!
I also have a question.....
........I have spent the weekend scouring the internet for all things lollipop but I have not been able to find out what to use for the sticks. Cocktail sticks seem too fat, I can't find any dowels that seem thin enough, is dental floss used? Where do these tiny sticks come from? These lollies came with a couple of dolls I purchased, I think, with wooden sticks on the left and a plastic?waxed? stick on the right (it is wobbly). Any ideas anyone? Have a whole load to learn how to make so all suggestions will be gratefully received.
Last but not least, I have been accumulating miniature tutorials on my Pinterest page that you might find useful or inspirational for your own work. Please feel free to visit and browse.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Even More Potions and Thank Yous.........

What a wonderful place Blogland is and I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who left ideas, tips and advice for me following my last post. I will definitely be off to buy quilling paper, cornstarch, a sharp blade and beads.
Today I tinkered with my lids. I gave them a coat of black acrylic paint which definitely gave them more depth.
 As you can see they are still a little rough around the edges so I will give them another light sanding, then paint again and finish off with a coat of PVA. They are time consuming but I want to get them right to make Nikki proud!! 
 Allison left me a great tip recommending brass two prong paper holders which will be great for smaller jars and while I was looking for some in my local shop I saw drawing pins which also sit perfectly. 
 I have also been playing with the smaller jars today most of which I filled quite a while ago. They are 20mmx10mm and are quite a lot smaller than the others. For these I tried an idea I saw on A Fanciful Twist using Baking Parchment. I have this stuff in my kitchen drawer, not quite sure why, and it looks absolutely great for all types of witchy projects and has a great feel and texture. 
I cut out circles and glued one circle to the top of the jar. This single layer looked a bit thin to me so I ended up sticking three circles to each jar.
 I have kept them quite short and flat as these jars are small but on larger jars you could have a longer, fuller skirt. 
 Not one to leave things alone I then decided to top the paper with this netting just to add a little more texture and interest. 
 The netting I bought in small packs at a dolls house fair a few weeks ago from a lovely couple running Thimblemins. Perfect colours for my projects and in small packages. I have been looking for this type of netting for ages and have not been able to find anything suitable at the right sort of price.
Back to labels tomorrow and finishing off the netting tops. Getting there slowly but surely, then back to the upper bedroom of The Leaky Cauldron.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Big Thank You to Nikki Plus Even More Potions......

In my last post I showed a photograph of Snape's office that I took at the Studio tour with all the lines of black capped potion jars. I asked for help and Nikki Rowe came up trumps in her usual way, with a simple but perfect solution. Now Nikki is a superbly talented artisan with a hugely generous spirit and I am so grateful not only for her help but for the time she set aside to think about my lids.
I hope she won't die laughing at my clumsy efforts....I have tried Nikki, honest!!
 Nikki came up with the idea of using card and this was my first effort, except I used back paper, not sure why, and although it looked ok.....
 ......the two pieces did not quite connect! The paper was too thin to join and not sturdy enough but the look was perfect. 
 I decided to stick on the labels first as my cutting and gluing is a little bit suspect. As you can see the circle tops sit on top of the rim band. I will let them dry and then cut the edges and carefully sand off the rough edges. These labels are from Etsy seller Angie and they are perfectly made for miniature potion jars.
 Still a work in progress, don't laugh Nikki!!
 These "mob cap" potions are ready to be placed on their shelf. These are 30mmx30mm and are part of the Witch E.T. Grubb range of potions exclusive to Slug and Jiggers. 
 The purple is repeated in the ties and on the label, as purple is the signature colour of this renowned brand. 
 The mob caps are made with the cheapest dish cloths stained with tea and small piece of purple netting that just about peeps through.
 These jars just need the corks grunged up as little before stacking on the top shelf. These are quite tall at 35mmx20mm, a little large perhaps but I do want a variety of sizes and Snape's office did have small and huge.
More from Witch E.Grubb and ingredients from Harry Potter. The labels are computer made using Word's Table formatting. The fonts are size 6 and 8. I decided not to age or burn these labels to keep the clean and ordered look in the shop as I want the top floor to be in complete contrast.
Very sleek apothecary downstairs. Mad, crazy potion mixing upstairs.
Well that's the plan!