Monday, 13 October 2014

Finding Findings - discovering miniature supplies on a High Street near you

So, 9 months have passed since my last posting and it has, literally, been a "pregnant pause"! In April Ian and I welcomed our much longed-for third child, Harry, into the world. Life as a family of five has taken some getting used to; there is, as they say, Never A Dull Moment....and life was far from dull before! Here he is, my last real-life miniature (and I mean it this time):



Now that I can get out and about again I have been trundling up and down the High Street with the pram and I have discovered that miniature supplies can be found in the most surprising of places.

Now I have never had false nails and have never felt the urge to glue fake diamonds either to them, or any other part of my anatomy (THAT is a whole subject in itself, only to be discussed late at night with close friends in the local wine bar...) but it seems that plenty of people do. Which is why recently I have discovered a whole world of things to add to my stash of Things That Might One Day Be Useful.

So we start with Primark - where for just £1.00 you can buy a nail gem wheel containing hundreds of tiny jewellery findings. Mine contained no-hole silver and gold beads in the size that can no longer be obtained at dolls house fairs, tiny metal discs, stars and hearts that are perfect for use as buttons or for trimming shoes and handbags etc, plus a variety of gems that would make wonderful jewellery.




At the moment they also stock false nails which have been ready-painted with a cute penguin design - they would make fabulous Christmas ornaments if mounted onto a bead or scrap of dowel. Again, these are just £1.00.

Next comes B&M and Poundworld, where I discovered tiny no-hole beads in a plethora of colours being sold as nail art kits for just £1.00. For an outlay of only £2.00, look at what I got:


Even better, look at the empty bead containers I was left with after decanting the contents into these beading storage trays:


These tiny glass jars will be filled with various seeds and herbs and given a gingham lid for display on the country dresser in my current Mouse House project - they would also look fabulous filled with fimo sweeties for your sweet shop or with coloured solid water in your chemist shop. A friend of mine filled some with miniature eyeballs for her witchy house. I have some strange friends.

There was no stopping me now. Onwards I marched, this time to Poundworld. Here I discovered another phenomenon that is completely new to - and lost on - me: Hair Gems. Apparently, you can bond jewels to your hair with your straighteners (like I have time to straighten my hair!!) and they - boasted the instructions proudly - will "naturally fall out over a period of 3-14 days". Not sure that that is entirely a good thing when leaning over the baby's cot or pureeing his food. Anyway. These tiny findings come in gold and silver coloured hearts, stars, hexagons, squares and circles and although presented on an adhesive sheet, they can be easily picked off for use. Having picked all mine off,  I discovered that the textured paper they were stuck onto is itself unusual and it, too, found its way into my ever-growing stash. Here is the packaging in case you are inspired to sprint to your local branch of Poundworld:



The mirror card in the picture above was part of the packaging in one of the nail art sets I bought and will also find reincarnation in some scene or other.

Across the way was Claire's, an accessories shop popular with teenagers. Here I found nail art kits containing fimo shapes - fruits, animal faces etc - that could be used to decorate miniature gingerbread houses for the Christmas scene. Amongst the earring display I found tiny silver-coloured articulated robots that would look lovely under the Christmas tree, in a toy shop or on a shelf in the Nursery. These were rather more than a pound so I didn't buy them, although I was sorely tempted. Around Halloween there are earrings with tiny skeletons attached which would look fabulous in my strange friend's witchy house. They also sell packs of no-hole beads for decorating nails, although again they can be purchased more cheaply elsewhere. 

Back to Poundland. In the children's toys section I found cheap dolls house furniture in 1/12th scale. Painted white and badly finished it is less than inspiring. But with a bit of work involving emery boards (also available in pound shops) and a couple of coats of acrylic paint (ditto) the side table/sideboard came up nicely and doesn't look any different to the more expensive whitewood furniture I bought at a dolls house fair and subjected to the same treatment.

Also worth considering in Poundland are the various decals sold for nails - they currently stock Santa faces for £1.00 which, stuck onto cheap white plates would make wonderful Christmas crockery for your festive table.

Just around the corner, in the stationery aisle, I discovered these packs of sequins:


Each weighing 84g- that is a LOT of sequins - the packs come in gold, silver, white and multi-coloured. I bought 3 of them for £1.00 each and am thrilled with the variety of shapes, sizes, textures and colours they contain. The photo doesn't do them justice. Mostly really tiny, there are sequins shaped like cogwheels (I'm thinking steampunk), flowers, fans and domes and the gold and silver embossed ones look like metal findings rather than the sequins that they are. Many of the square and round ones don't have holes in so would make perfect tiny mirrors etc. I have never seen sequins like these before and my mind is awash with ideas for ways in which I could use them - particularly in my 1/48th and 1/144th scale projects. I'm so easily pleased!

All in all I spent £10 on what is pretty much a lifetime's supply of findings. I also ended up with several bottles of nail polish from the nail art kits that can be used to varnish or seal things. Given that I cannot make it to dolls house fairs for the moment, I have nevertheless managed to satisfy the miniature itch whilst at the same time walking off my baby weight. What's not to like? The only mystery is why, when you go into a pound shop, you come out having spent rather more than £1.00 on things you didn't know you needed.

Happy shopping!
Kathryn x