Saturday, 18 January 2014

Happy Miniature Christmas!

So I've finally got around to writing my Christmas-themed blog in mid-January...fashionably late as always! Truth is, December was so busy that it was only afterwards that I had time to start putting together a Christmas-themed bookend that I am making for our annual competition at the Dolls House Club. At least it will be ready in good time for Christmas 2014...if only I can by then remember where I have put it! We miniaturists tend to be adept at concealment, so as to hide the true extent of our miniature collection from those we share our lives's a 'need to know' thing. And they don't really need to know, do they?

This is the book-end I am making, well on its way to completion. It is supposed to be a gift-shop type scene so that anything goes...well that's my explanation for a bed being in the same room as a kitchen dresser, and I'm sticking to it! 

The only rule of the Club competition is that members should try to make as many of the contents as possible, so almost everything you can see is either entirely home-made or built from a kit. The only exception is the bear in the stocking which I couldn't resist and bought from Shoebutton Bears. The trunk at the end of the bed is a 1/24 scale kit by Petite Properties. The cushions you can see were all needle-pointed by me using patterns published in the various dolls house magazines over the last few years; I particularly like the Christmas Tree one (middle shelf, centre) which was designed by Shelley Hawley-Yen.Behind the cushions are Christmas plates made using commercially bought paper plates trimmed with fine braid and embellished with paper shapes such as gold stars and punched snowflakes etc. They aren't, of course, terribly realistic up close but, from a distance, and as part of a cluttered scene like this, they add to the overall effect. The little wooden Christmas trees are from the card-making department of my local haberdashers (Samuel Taylor's in Leeds) and I fitted them into little square beads sold for jewellery making. The wooden silver-painted reindeer on the bottom shelf are also sold for cardmaking at Samuel Taylors and I mounted them on plinths made from miniature wooden quoin stones. The two taller Christmas angels on the dresser are made from raffia, folded over and tied with a length of silk ribbon, with a small wooden bead for the head. The smaller Christmas angel with the gold hair next to the Christmas Tree teapot is knitted, using a few repeats of a lace pattern and a tiny wooden bead for the head. The Christmas Tree tea-cosy was knitted using a pattern designed by Jan's Minis and the Santa and Mrs Santa on the top shelf are knitted up from full size patterns designed by Alan Dart and Jean Greenhowe, two of my favourite knitting designers. Hanging from the drawer knobs on the dresser are three of the Christmas Stockings I needle-pointed using Bobbie Schoonmaker's lovely patterns. Here are all the stockings that I have stitched over the years:

The bed cover and pillow were stitched very simply using a red floral fabric - not strictly Christmas but the right colour palette - and the lace coverlet was a lucky find in a charity shop. The knitted Santa on the bed was made using a pattern designed by Anneliese de Korts. You will also see a selection of gift boxes which I made from cut-outs in magazines but the green and blue gift boxes were scratch-made by me and have a tiny Christmas motif embroidered onto 40-count silk gauze in their centre; the motifs came from a cross stitch magazine. I made the wreath by covering a white acrylic curtain ring with evergreen pipecleaners and adding narrow tartan ribbon and some gold no-hole beads.

Here is a close-up of the Santa Weebly toy; he's made based on a pattern that appeared recently in a dolls house magazine; I think it was one of Marianne Colijn's designs -  but I did adapt it quite a lot to get the look I wanted. The 'fur' and beard are simply short lengths of white chenille knitting yarn, glued on rather than stitched as it is rather difficult to work with due to its tendency to fray away to nothing. The bobble on Santa's hat is actually a tiny polystyrene ball that I appropriated from my daughter's toy vaccuum cleaner - miniatures really can be found in the most mysterious places! Although he is merely stuffed, rather than filled with a bead, he does actually 'weeble' in a very satisfactory way and I am quite pleased with him. I can see a range of weebly toys on my stall one this space!

Still to add is some miseltoe, based on a project that appeared in the AIM imag a few months ago: I made this by twisting short lengths of green florists wire together and adding punched miseltoe leaves (Pinflair do a great multi-punch tool which includes a tiny miseltoe die) and pearly seed beads for the berries. I bound the stalks together with narrow braid and made a hanging loop so that the miseltoe can be hung up to encourage those miniature kisses...

Here also are two little knitted characters made using full size patterns from Sandra Polley's 'Knitted Toys' and scaled down to a suitable size:

The reindeer in the book has wonderful antlers made from fuzzy brown chenille pipecleaners, but this just didn't translate into twelfth scale, so I used tiny brown pompoms instead. The eyes and nose are made using the tiniest little paper fasteners that I, again, found in the scrapbooking section of the haberdashers. I also used them as buttons for the weebly Santa (above). The legs are thread-jointed so Rudolph can be posed if required. I intend to knit a selection of these using the full-size pattern one day - I can see them prancing along my mantelpiece at Christmas....

So there you have it, a little scene that won't take up much room but was lots of fun and inexpensive to make. In case my husband is reading this....

Until next time...happy knitting!

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