Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Shameless promotion and way off topic

The gift giving is starting (hey, at least I waited until Halloween!) and I just created a temporary site to show the mini food inspired jewelry I make and sell. There are only a few styles currently posted but more will be added soon. I am working on a full service stand alone site with a shopping cart and everything (I'm gettin' fancy!) but it is a major undertaking, so for now this will have to do.
In addition to the sweets and pastries I am creating a line of Japanese foods which should be out by early December. These are going to be really fun! And while aimed specifically for kids into Anime and Manga (get that confused look off your face), adults into Japanese culture will love these as well!
If you are not into J-pop or Anime, you won't get this!
Custom pieces are available. Check out the site and let me know what you think! Oh, and feel free to order something if you like. I won't mind!

I will apologize in advance for the less than stellar photography. Until I can hire Brae ( ) as my photographer, it has to be iphone pics :(
Hope you all have a wonderful and safe Halloween! Boo!

All Hallows Greetings From Gartth Manor

The Garth family sends you helliday greetings on this darkest of days. They wish they could invite you in for some brandy and sweets but alas, this is their one night of the year when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead are thinnest. They have other plans......

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Another Magickal Giveaway Alert!

Giveaways are always so much fun! It's like the lottery but with minis! I never have much luck with them myself but I love sharing when I come across one that is super cool. This one is super cool....
Illyria's Miniatures is doing a giveaway. I have a few of her pieces in my collection and they are awesome! She specializes in magickal and fantasy themes. Her bat books are incredible! 
She hails from Slovenia "The Sunny Side of the Alps!" which is just cool on its own.
I have copied the giveaway information from her blog below so you can see the super cool stuff she is giving away! Go to her blog and join to get in on the fun:
Here are the goodies:
#1: A set of three Illyria's Miniatures original books - a Bat Book, a Mossy Book and a Dragonscale Book - Turquoise.
(That mossy book is just perfect for a Faerie dwelling!- Michi)

#2: One Illyria's Miniatures original Bat Book

#3: One Illyria's Miniatures original Dragonscale Book - Gold
(I have several of these in various sizes and the picture does no justice to the detail!- Michi)

Well, here they are, the three prizes waiting for the lucky winners!

Now for the rules:
1. You have to be a follower of my blog. (new followers will also be able to participate, so don't be shy!)
2. Leave a comment on this blog entry to let me know you wish to be added to the draw.
3. Post about my giveaway on your blog.

The giveaway will last until Sunday, November 11th, when I will draw the winners at 12am CET (Central European Time).
Good luck!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Vines for Garth Manor

Here are the vines that will cover parts of Garth Manor. The kits are from Peaches in Canada. You can see her work here:
The grape clusters won't be included but will be used in the Bavarian Cafe project. I think the leaves have a much more creepy feel to them as opposed to plain ivy. This was her suggestion and I couldn't agree more. I think they are absolutely fabulous! Check out her site and if you have ever thought of doing some flower kits, DEFINITELY check her out. Her work is amazing.
I am still furiously working on jewelry, trying desperately to get enough inventory together for the gift giving and show season. I got a late start because I was so busy with the manor (and I was kind of lazy and putting it off).
Hope you all have a great weekend!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Off Topic- Jewelry Time

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, I have been in high gear creating my jewelry which has shifted my focus away from the manor just a bit. I am still working on the windows and finishing the shingling (pictures soon) but have been busy creating my non-caloric treats.
 Guaranteed NOT to add to your waist line. These are scented like chocolate.
The pendant is scented like cream cheese frosting.

This tort charm is super duper tiny. It was impossible for me to take a clear picture. Grrrrr.
These pictures are just horrible. I really need to get a better camera and a light box but they are sold at a retail level so buyers see them up close.
Thanks for checking these out. Making these always makes me smile despite the rain. Now I have to get back to work! Have a great day!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Swap Stuff!

I LOVE SWAPS! It is so much fun to just randomly swap stuff with mini friends. These just arrived all the way from Slovenia- The Sunny Side of the Alps! These are all handmade pieces from one of my favorite fantasy artists- Jana!
Check out her blog here:

I loved these fun "dragon scale" books! They will be at home in the Garth Manor library! The potion bottles will also be featured in the hidden "witchcraft" cabinet.
This unfinished throne chair is amazing. Completely hand carved. Now I just have to figure out in which direction I want to go with finishing it! Just the perfect chair for reading in the study by the fire on a stormy night.
If anyone is ever interested in random swapping, let me know! Just for fun!


Thursday, October 11, 2012




Wedding Bouquets by Monica (aka Peaches). Aren't they stunning?

So I found a source for vines for not only Garth Manor, but for the Bavarian Cafe as well! There is an artisan in Canada who makes the most incredible flowers! Her name is Monica Lavoie aka "Peaches". Here is her link:

I have spoken with her directly and she is putting together a relatively huge batch of Geranium, Sunflower, Grape vines, and other flower kits for me.

After trying to come up with a vine on my own that would look good creeping up the sides of the manor, I gave up. Nothing looked good. I have ordered 12 sets of vines from her and will be assembling them as soon as they arrive. I will post pictures of each step of assembly.

The kits for the Bavarian Cafe will include over two hundred stems so it will be time consuming but the results should be stunning. I am truly excited to get started on this. I have also created a blog dedicated to the upcoming Cafe project. Please swing by and join! Unlike the Garth Manor project, this site will follow the project from wood selection to design, cutting, assembly, and finishing. It is going to be fun! And probably filled with some frustration as well! Here is the link:

I am still working on shingles (I am sick of eggs!) and am getting the landscaping foundation ready. The Halloween deadline is NOT going to happen but I am ok with that. I am going to take my time.
Until later mini friends!
Michi :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Flower Kit Giveaway!

Check out this AMAZING giveaway contest! It is for several flower kits as well as some other goodies. And while you're there, check out her whole blog. Lots of fun stuff.

I love the spirit of miniaturists. I mean really. Just in the spirit of sharing these wonderful things. Awesome. Here's the link to get in on the fun:

Good luck, even though I really want to win these badly. Those flowers need to be in my Bavarian Cafe project.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Slate Shingles Going Up

I have finally started to get the egg carton "slate" shingles up on the roof. I still have a few more shingles to color and cut but I am off to a good start. these are not at all as tedious to cut and prepare as smaller egg carton "bricks" can be. It goes pretty quickly.

 Here I am just dry fitting them before gluing. I really want to make sure they don't match their neighbor. Seeing that round window reminds me that I need to start planning the ghost effect soon!
 A close up so you can see the detail better. I am pretty pleased with how the coloring came out.
Here you can see the front doors which are going to be painted, aged, and then put in place this weekend. The will mostly be covered up by boards since all first level entry points will be boarded up and sealed off to thwart further entry and possible theft or vandalism.
I feel renewed on this project after taking a couple days off to start sketching and making the pattern for my next project. Really helped clear my head.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

On a Mission (and a ramble)

So today I swear I will get all my "slate" shingles colored, cut, and ready to go on Garth Manor. I already have a bunch but not near as many as I need. Here is a link to the tutorial where I learned about egg carton slate shingles:

I hate that I have to go to work right now. Working a job cuts way too deep into my mini time. I slept like poo last night because I had epic dreams that kept waking me up. And all of them had a soundtrack: Return To Oz by the Scissor Sisters. I still have the song stuck in my head. I love the Scissor Sisters but that song is very depressing.

Anyway, I will feel much better once the shingles are on. I still need to make the windows but it is proving more challenging than I anticipated. Because the clay work created such a thick wall, I can't even "cheat" and buy pre-made windows because they won't fit without extensive modification. I am just waiting for a solution to pop into my head. I have the windows framed out, just need to finish them. I have decided to salvage the door that came with the kit since it will be boarded up anyway. Putting so much work into a scratch door will just be a waste.

I am also perplexed about the interior. The house has been long abandoned so furnishings should be minimal since they will have all been stolen. How much is the interior damaged by the elements. How busted out is the glass in the windows? The closer I get to having to figure these details out, the more I keep changing things. Ugh. I feel like I will never finish.

I will just breathe and take it one step at a time. After all, the sooner I get through this project, the sooner I will be able to start the next one. And it will be perfect timing since I will need to work on a happy themed project to get me through the next 8 months of grey skies, rain, and (hopefully) some snow.

Ramble, ramble, ramble. I hope you all have a great day and I hope to have some pics showing progress within the next couple of days.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Minius Addicticatus- The Symptoms

Yes, another two post day here. I realize that some people can be casual miniaturists and I applaud them for it. However, I suffer from "Minius Addicticatus" which is a not so rare condition joyfully suffered by many in the "mini hobby".

Symptoms include:

The inability to NOT pick up some little piece of scrap found lying on the ground because it looks just like a mini________ (Fill in the blank).

The obsessive need to snap pictures of other people's chimneys, retaining walls, gardens, front door, etc. because it would fit in perfectly on some mystery "future project".

While on vacation, you see every exotic building as a future project.

You have more than three simultaneous, yet unrelated, projects going at once.

Your family re-heats leftovers or orders pizza more than three times in a week because you are locked up in your work room and "can't be disturbed". "I'm right in the middle of shingling....!"

You have skipped paying a bill or eaten Top Ramen for a month because the "Mini Show" is coming up and you need the extra cash.

Minis are built into your monthly budget.

You have more bottles of various glues than bottles of vitamins.

The only things being washed in your kitchen are your brushes.

You shirk at the idea of having to drive a friend to the airport but you revel in driving a hundred miles to the nearest miniatures shop.

You are horrified by having to pay $12.99 for an appetizer in a restaurant but are thrilled to get an artisan made Fimo "Nachos with Platter" for only $29.99.

You stash money away from your spouse specifically for minis.

You burn your invoice from before your spouse comes home.

Your  real life sofa is clawed up by cats and sagging in the middle and you refuse to replace it but you have 3 or more mini sofas in your stash that have yet to have a home.

You don't have time to clean your real house but your dollhouse is perfectly dusted. Always.

And last, but not least, you spend way too much time writing these kinds of things in a mini blog!

My Next project- The Bavarian Cafe

Bayern Ist Spitze!

I have needed to take a break from Garth Manor in order to clear my mind of all the changes I want to make to it. And what better way to clear them out but start the planning on my next project!

My family hails from Bavaria and I was the first family member born here America. Growing up, my family never let go of their Bavarian traditions and passed them on to me to keep alive. We spent nearly every summer in Germany and some Winters.  Those were always magical journeys for me.


One thing I really loved, even as a kid, was the architecture of Upper Bavaria. The traditional homes, churches, and even the "downtown" areas just captured my imagination. Many small towns seemed to have been ripped right out of a fairy tale.

This is why my next project will be a traditional Bavarian cafe with living quarters above it. These family run, casual dining establishments were always our favorite stop for lunch or a quick coffee (cocoa for me until later) and cake in the late afternoon and were usually enjoyed outside on the patio in warm weather. When I am sad or feeling really stressed, I try to think back to those moments, the sun on my face, the awesome pastry on my plate, the taste of hot chocolate fresh on my lips (god, no wonder I am heavy....), and it never fails to make me smile. This project will be my way of bringing that joy into something i can revisit every day.
The actual building shape of these typical establishments is pretty straight forward and simple. The devil will be in the details!

This will be a scratch build from beginning to end and will especially put my flower making skills to the test as flower boxes in Bavaria are always overflowing with the most beautiful and colorful flowers imaginable. It will also give me the opportunity to create some classic German foods in Fimo which will be a blast!
This project could be bad for my diet. I mean, to make them in mini I HAVE to cook up the real thing for reference........

The really fun part will be collecting and making all the decorative bits to fill the inside with!
I will have to include some mini "lebkuchen herz". Yum.
I also want to include a typical Bavarian "Marterl" or wayside shrine. These dot the landscape of Bavaria and served as mini shrines for those traveling long distances. We had one in our backyard growing up with a statue of St. Francis.
I am super excited about getting this project underway. However, first things first. Garth manor needs its shingles on. I just needed a break. Time to get back to it!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Bones Galore

I know, TWO posts in one day! Indulgent. I had some time before I head out to work so I thought I would take a couple of pics while working on my bones. I am working on the roof top and have time while the first layer dries.
Just testing some bone placement. I don't like the hands. They look cheesy but I'll let them "hang out" until I come up with something better. The throw-away parts of these skeletons are the hands, feet, and back rib cage. The spines can be used but take a lot of work to make them look decent.

I use wire cutters to snip each bone away from it's neighbor.

You can see the snip marks. I use finger nail files in various grits to sand them off. The plastic is really stubborn and will want to leave little "strings" behind. Just keep at it and use tweezers to pull them off if they insist on hanging on.

You can see what I mean by "string". More like a nib? Am I making up words as I go? These are stubborn with this type of plastic but they will go away with work. If you're really having a tough time, use your dremel sander. Just be careful to not apply too much pressure.

These bones are in the keep pile. The pelvic bones will serve as the top part of my bone wind chime.
After I have enough of these cleaned up I will show how to color them to make them look more realistic.

Happy Equinox!

The word equinox comes from the Latin words for "equal night." The fall and spring equinoxes are the only days of the year in which the Sun crosses the celestial equator. It is my favorite time of the year hands down. This the time of the year when all my favorite things come: Sweaters, firewood, roasts with potatoes and gravy, soups, pumpkin ANYTHING, bright colored leaves, and of course Halloween! We have only seen the first hints of color changes here but the weather has certainly fallen right in line. The skies are darker and we are in the highs of upper sixties to barely seventy.
It is also the time of the year where I do not feel guilty for staying indoors working on minis all day. During the summer there is always that nagging feeling that you should go out hiking, camping, rafting, etc. to take advantage of the warm weather. Ya just don't have that in the Fall except for long walks to enjoy the colors while they last.
The portico is done and I am somewhat happy with the coloring. It was a bear to match up exactly but I am feeling OK with the final results. Tomorrow I will be finishing the front door and the portico will be attached permanently. Now all I need to do is finish all the windows, shutters, roof top, and shingles. Then comes the base and landscaping.
My new workroom is in order and I have already been working on some detail projects.
I picked up these skeletons at the Dollar Tree. They are about 5.5 inches so the scale is perfect for 1:12. They look kind of silly as is but I cut them up. Using snips, I cut each bone apart and then use emery boards to file down any nubs or snip marks. They can then be re-painted to look like realistic old bones. And they cost 25 cents each! Ya just can't beat that. I will be making a bone wind chime out of some and the rest will be place here and there. I can never have enough bones lying around! I may even incorporate some into furniture pieces.
If anyone is interested I can post a tutorial on how I convert these cheap skeletons into realistic additions for your Halloween mini scenes. Just let me know.
Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Only in Portland, Oregon........

Only in Portland would you be sitting in the middle of a bridge, on a lawn (yes, lawn), having a brunch picnic, when two human flowers just show up and join you......
Only in Portland. It made me smile. Just thought I would share.
See, I do get out of my workroom occasionally! Speaking of my workroom, I have it nearly complete. I just need to get my paints organized by color on the shelving and my various small tools put in order. I should have the portico coloration done by this evening and the support beams added and aged. It took me a half hour yesterday to find my Super Glue Gel so I am still not quite as organized as I need to be but I am getting there.

Garth Manor seems right at home. I set up a six foot table so I have enough room to add and work on the landscaping base. Table still has clutter that needs to find a home.

Fortunately the parlor has two doors. One that leads to the front room( shown here) and entry, and the other that leads to the hallway and stairs. I am going to block the front entry to make room for this other table for side projects of a smaller nature. I need to start on my commercial pieces soon.
This room is so nice. Just has a very warm feel to it. The Manor will enjoy it's new home.
Have a great day!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Mixed Topics (i.e. rambling)

Having a great week so far. Just thought I would share a couple random things with all of you. Oh and a quick Manor update as well!

Meet Brumbiddle. I received him as a Yule gift a few years ago. He watches over our front door and makes sure no mischief occurs (other than his own...)
I am moving my craft room from upstairs to this unused downstairs parlor room. In the winter it will be much cozier to work and the light is great. I just need to clear out the clutter before I re-fill it with other clutter! I have made a promise to myself that I am going to organize my supplies.
The first two washes are on the portico. There is a dark umber-ish color under a grey wash. Two more layers of wash will probably be enough.

 Another view
Here is the final roof after an additional wash of murk.

Me looking kind of crazy. Fitting.

Speaking of crazy, I read on one of my Yahoo groups about these Dollar Tree mini glass bottles and bought out their stock. I have over a hundred of them now. They will be perfect as herb and potion bottles in my upcoming Occult Shop project. I can't get myself just to dump out the glittery stuff that came inside them but I am not a glitter person at all. I will replace the plastic stoppers with ones from clay. It will be a fun side project.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Disaster Averted!

Good news for us! We don't have to move! Thank the Gods! Because if I had to try and organize and pack up my craft room in the middle of this build I would curl into a ball and die. I would be like a puddle of quivering flesh on the floor. Like a piece of chewed up gum..... Ok, not really, but the thought of having to move made me physically ill. Whew! Now, back to business.......
 Here you can see the aged roofing. I am still thinking one more coat of wash.....Then the trim work.I will be adding some weed growth along the trim line for added realism. Heck, I have weed growth along my own roof line and my house is lived in!
 I got a really nasty splinter while roughing up the wood strips. I have bled more on this project than any other in my twenty plus years history with miniatures. A portent or omen perhaps....?
 I have added a couple of layers of additional dark wash on the area below the broken roof to show the effects of the elements. More to come. Once the desired effect is achieved, I will add moss growth.
The area on the bricks below the opening with further weathering. This is just the first layer but I want to keep it somewhat subtle and not go "overboard". It is barely noticeable at this point.

Dry fitted all portico parts. The fit works. Now I just have to give it one more day to allow the "patchwork" clay dry and I will begin the stone painting. Tomorrow for sure! I am so excited because it will truly reveal the overall look for the structure. FINALLY!