Monday, October 26, 2009

Introducing: La Cocina Alegre by Tomohachi

I made a new friend recently :) I first came across her site when I went searching for a 'recipe' to make the perfect bread texture....this after Kiva started me obsessing over it over on her blog.

So, with my minimal knowledge of Japanese characters and the help of Google translate, I stumbled across Tomohachi's site.

Reading her english blog amused me somewhat, she has a very gentle sense of humour that I enjoy, and is very sharing with her trial and errors in mini-making! Her blog got me occupied for quite a while since it was full of WIP (Work-In-Progress) pictures, until I hit this fateful post...

now, that's, EXACTLY what i had been searching for! so here we have, a miniaturist who:

1) is generous in sharing her work process
2) takes beautiful pictures of her beautiful works
3) although isn't fluent in English, took the time to POST in English to my (ok, everyone who reads only English) benefit!

as noisy and vivacious as i might appear online, i am rather shy when it comes to taking the first step in making new friends...most of the time i blurt out stupidly what's on my mind and hope the other party doesn't take offence at my tactlessness. so composing an email with the help of googletranslate couldn't be great, communication-wise, for starting off an e-mail, and with the audacity to ask for a recipe for the work LOL but hey! my motto is, "if you don't ask, you'll never know"

and she replied! very positively too! and in such detail on how to achieve the effect! so here it is, with her permission, how she achieved the perfect bread texture ^ ^

I use bicarbonate of soda.
Please prepare a ball of resin clay "Grace" about 1.2cm in diameter and a
ball of Hearty about 2~2.2cm in diameter. Hearty contains a lot of air, so you would use a little more Hearty than "Grace". Mixing to soft, add about two earpicks full of bicarbonate of soda and several drops of water to the clay ball.
Mix again. Shape the clay into your desired shape and place on baking sheet. Put it in the microwave oven and heat it for a few seconds.
The heating time is different depending on the size of the item. I always
heat it for about 20~40 seconds. Please watch carefully when heating. If you succeed, you can see bubbles in the clay.

I have slightly re-phrased her explanation, hope you don't mind, Tomohachi!

Since I don't own a microwave oven, I shall attempt this with my toaster oven, presumably on a much higher temperature setting than what I use for polymer clay. Her tip was to watch for it and don't let it burn is all!

Also, she has also kindly reminded me to keep a few more things in mind:

1) success rate is approx. 90%
2) the clay shrinks a little after baking

I'm so glad I took that first step :) Thank you so much for your generosity, and patience with me Tomohachi! And no, your english is not poor at all, I understand you completely! I do apologize for my poor Japanese though (ok, for that, you can blame googletranslate! :P)

Please visit her site! It is chock full of beautiful pictures of her amazing and wonderful works.

English Blog

Arigato gozaimashita Tomohachi, what an inspiration your work is!


にちょっと面白がって彼女の英語ブログを読んで、彼女は、私は楽しむことができるユーモアの非常に穏やかなセンスを持って、非常に彼女の裁判とミ ニのエラーを共有して決定!彼女のブログ以来、仕掛品でいっぱいだった私はかなり長い間に占領(ワーク得たでの進捗状況)の写真まで、私はこの運命的なポ ストを直撃...



と騒々しいと私は、私ではなくときには、新しいお友達と...時間のi最大限に活かしての最初の一歩になる内気な時を表示される可能性があります として快活にばかみたいに自分の考えでは、他の政党がないことを願って口走る私の要領の悪さは犯罪。ので、通信偉大されない可能性がある、電子メール、大 胆にも仕事大爆笑だがのためのレシピを求めてオフに起動するための賢明なgoogletranslateの助けを借りてメールを作成しちょっと!場合は、 質問しないで私のモットーは、"の場合、"知っていることがあります

と彼女は答えた!非常に積極的すぎる!などの詳細をどのように効果を達成するために!ので、ここでは、彼女の許可を得て、どのように、彼女は完璧なパンのテクスチャを実現しています^ ^

2についてハーティの玉〜2.2センチメートルの直径です。心のこもったので、"よりも少しハーティを使用すると、空気が多く含まれてグレイス"。ソフト には、ミキシング2 earpicksソーダの炭酸塩と水の数滴の粘土のボールへの完全な情報を追加します。




1)は、成功率は約です。 90%

私は私は最初の一歩を踏み出したうれしいです:)ので、はるかにあなたの寛大さをありがとう、私と一緒に忍耐Tomohachi!とはまったく悪 いではなく、あなたの英語は、私は完全に理解して!私は謝罪を自分の下手な日本語も(いや、そのためにはあなたgoogletranslateを非難する ことができます!:P)は



ありがとうgozaimashita Tomohachi、インスピレーションをあなたの仕事とは何か!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Experiment - Acrylic Turned Jars

acrylic turning experiment
Originally uploaded by Snowfern

oh boy.

so in my search for the elusive perfect breads texture, i came across Tomohachi's site, and how wonderful her works are! i've emailed her regarding how she achieved the wonderful textures, and she's replied, but since the results are not consistent, i'm not sure if i want to chance it, what with my lack of a microwave oven, and resin clay being so expensive ; ; i've already wasted so much clay, and boy i hate wastage -_-" even if it's mini wastage...

i've forgotten to ask her for permission to post her formula, so i'll update if and when i get it > <

ok! back to the experiment! i found a nifty little Japanese (their miniatures are AWESOME!) site:

i think it's a 'her', not sure though. she seems like a pretty fun-loving lady, and her tutorials are AWESOME! especially the banana, and mandarin oranges....mostly air dry clay though...:( anyway i came across some of her acrylic tube turnings, and coupled with a jar i saw on tomohachi's site, i decided to try it as i had all the tools and materials on hand! WOOT! yeaaaahhh~~

here are the tools i used. an acrylic cutter, a rotor (i got a relatively cheap one from mix 'n' match in Chinatown), some drill/sanding bits from Daiso, a mitre and's alot of tools and i think i inhaled alot of acrylic dust > <>

i quite like how it turned out! forgot to add that i have several grades of sandpaper on hand, from 100-2000 grit. i need to get myself some acrylic polish, but i'm quite liking this 'frosted glass' effect!

the smallest one on the right will probably become a cold cream jar, have to think of how to make a nice stopper for it....

can anyone recommend a good and affordable acrylic polish?


am thinning out the jars now with the new sanding bits bf got for me, am now really really tired and shoulders are sore.....-_-"

i'm done for today.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Experiment - Air Dry Clay & Texture Paste

SO! finally, another update on my experiments. as much as i dread getting to them, i enjoy experimenting. it's always a learning experience, however getting me to actually starting is another matter....

i have to state firstly, that any of you who bothered to get past the first paragraph, PLEASE READ CAREFULLY BEFORE ASKING ME QUESTIONS. a few disclaimers ahead.

1) i work mostly with polymer clay, so please don't ask me for advice on which clay you should use etc. my reply will always be, try it out and decide. it's a very personal choice. don't ask me where i got my clay. i've already mentioned it in the pics. if you can't find it there, well. means they're out of stock, and you're out of luck. this is a sore issue for me, the lack of availability of materials, so i won't be entertaining any of those sorts of questions. heck. the 4 packs i have are the only ones i have to work with currently, i don't even know where i should get more or if i would even want to.

2) the experiment results here are based solely on my one time experiment. results may vary from brand to brand, as i always mix media while experimenting. also, i bought the yellow clay half a year ago from Daiso, and the Hearty clay -at least- 3 mths back, so the quality of the clay may have deteriorated. as far as i know, air dry clay does have a shelf life, unlike polymer clay. keep that in mind when i'm bitching about working with it later on ;)


all that i know is included in my links, and they can be found

<<======thataway that's where all i learnt what i know, and from helpful hints and tips from lovely people who i'm lucky to have befriended via the powers of the internet. i truly appreciate any constructive criticism, tips and pointers. do your own reading and actually get to playing -with- the clay before inundating me with tonnes of vague questions. it's all there. you just have to work for it. TO REGULAR READERS thanks for putting up with my crabbiness. experiments tend to put me in a foul mood > < i used the lightweight type. i didn't buy any resin air dry clays as they are really expensive. these are only 1/10th of the price of resin clay.

the magenta reminded me of some macarons i made in 1/12th, i originally pinched off a tiny bit and tried to make a flower, but the clay was too 'puffy' and 'airy', so different from polymer clay. moreover, the more i mixed it, the weirder it got, white stuff started surfacing and it wouldn't stick together. i wonder if it's drying out too fast at such a small volume, so i decided to make larger items instead. above shows the whitish stuff, i wound up adding a little bit of white glue and mixing it in to the semi-crumbly mix of clay, waited around an hr for it to dry and prodded it with my needle tool to simulate a grainy bread texture.

ideas: good for crumbly cakes, tarts slices. chinese almond cookies, multi-grain breads. maybe even hard cheeses.
NOTE TO SELF: will have to take into consideration results -after- sealing, and which sealants work best for whichever desired results.

i stuck some of it into one of my miniature aluminum cake pans, waited a while for it to dry, textured the top to simulate (somewhat unsuccessfully) a baked cake, and sliced it in the middle once it dried. nice texture for a semi-heavy cake, i think.

ideas: mousse, cake prep board

the half on top is in its original texture, at bottom, i poked at it with my needle tool. definitely a texture i like and would like to use.

idea: biscuits, tarts, gingerbreads

NOTE TO SELF: check shrinkage after baking, and how well it interacts with polymer clay.

the macaron bit has been sealed with a matte sealant, i touched it before it dried thoroughly so you can see the bits where it's unevenly applied. i wanted to use my can of acrylic sealant but i decided against it as the one i got dries sticky, don't like it at all. will buy a better brand in future if i decide to work with air dry clay again.

what's good is, after sealing, it looked even more realistic, i was pleasantly surprised at how good the effect was. however, i doubt i can turn it into a charm or keychain, the clay is simply too soft and would not be able to withstand the abuse.

after drying, there is a -little- shrinkage. not very noticeable, but more obvious where there are cracks. i had deliberately made a macaron with a crack (like some real macarons have) and it widened enough to be obvious.

i mixed some of the yellow (Daiso) with magenta (Hearty) and got a nice pink raspberry cream type mixture. i was actually hoping to get an orange colour, but i guess the two didn't mix well. or i'm challenged that way. anyhow, drats, i just looked at the items, the picture colours aren't accurate at all! grr. anyway, i'm more interested in textures at this point, not the colours.

i added a few drops of water , mixed well, and got a semi-gritty paste, stuck it in a piping nozzle and swirled away~ as expected, it took a little longer to dry. once dry, it held its detail after i poked and prodded lightly at it. i suspect it might be easy to tear it apart though. for the lighter pink swirls, i added a touch of texture paste to some leftover 'raspberry cream' mix. i had hoped it would strengthen it somewhat.

ok this one, i loved. the cheese part (it's actually 'yellower' IRL) was made from Lemon Yellow clay (Daiso) straight from the packet, biscuit base was the same clay, with quite a bit of brown and ochre acrylic paint mixed in. i initially mixed it in while wrapped in clingfilm, but it tore and i used my fingers instead. the acrylic did not stain my fingers at all.

i assembled the cake using ruby red gallery glass to simulate strawberry jam between the two layers, and also for it to act as a glue. once it dried, i messed up the first slice as i used a blunt blade, but the next 2 slices were cleaner. the results are startlingly realistic! I LOVE IT! problem is, again, sealing it. air dry clays require sealants or once it comes into contact with water it'll 'melt away' into sludge. :-/ spray sealants would probably work best, but i'm also fearful that the strength of the canister spray might blow away my mini items heh.

the Daiso clay was finer, easier to mix, dries less quickly. maybe because the Hearty clay might have been on the shelf too long, i'd gotten it at a clearance sale for only $2 each. Hearty is 'puffier' and less inclined to hold on to details, required a bit more manipulation than i'd care for.

PHEW. ok. on to the texture paste experiment, part 2 (you can read part 1 here).

well, when i first experimented with texture paste (Marie brand) i hated it. LOATHED it. they turned out semi-glossy/plasticky and rubbery. annoying.

chucked the tub aside and recently, decided i should give it another try. this time, as suggested by Betsy Niederer and other CDHM pals, adding cornstarch to the mix.

Special thanks to Philippa for providing all the info on tips, syringes and texture paste recommendations. you can see her amazing work at

from right to left:

Front row
1) 1:2 cornstarch:texture paste + pink acrylic paint
hardly any definition. colour not prominent, even though i added a rather considerable amount of pink. i had stupidly forgotten the texture paste is WHITE. white + pink = paler pink. duh. *smacks own forehead*
2) added a touch more cornstarch to remainder
3) 2:2:1 cornstarch:texture paste:ruby red gallery glass
armed with foreknowledge, mixed new batch, felt that mixture was a little too stiff
4) 1:1 mix, with touch of red/yellow acrylic paints to make orange
originally added tamiya acrylic orange, but results weren't desirable.

2nd Row
1) dripped ruby red gallery glass to simulate strawberry syrup.
2) disastrous 'chocolate' meringue. i give up. i don't know how to use texture paste to make chocolate meringues. they always turn out purplish when i tint it with acrylics :(

pale orange using self-made piping nozzle. pink blobs using brother's syringe + needle from his last visit to the dentist. don't worry, i washed it ;)

so there you are. results of 2 days' worth of experiments, lots of washing, and wasted materials.

hope this is helpful, i think i've covered everything i learnt, anything else i've missed, means i have more to learn....

TEACH ME! or comment, if you've found this useful ;)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bento Sets

after i found Sherimiya's and Asuka's flickrs, i'd promised myself to make a mini bento some day. well, i got sick of procrastinating, and finally, here are the results. :D

they're nested neatly in re-ment or at least i -think- the pink one is part of a sanrio series of re-ment, can't recall, re-ment is usually 1:6 size this is really small though, approx. 2.2cm and a tad large for 1:12th scale, but that just means it's a larger bento LOL

the clear tupperware is 2cm long, which translates to 24cm or approx 9 1/2 inches, which is, also very large for a bento. i don't have any smaller, so i guess Yotsuba gets to eat more for lunch? :P

i wanted to make more veges for the bentos, but it's the weekend and i suffered a new hand injury, a 1.5cm gash,'s again another forced few days of rest away from clay play :( ah well. i'm very pleased with the results, and can't wait to get back to making more savoury items!

oh yeah. forgot about this wee one ;)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Yotsuba's Halloween - Brain and Finger Foods

as you can tell, i'm back on mini clay play with full force!

the last week was spent slowly making the components to this, yes, i've given it much thought, bf helped too :P i have just one more in my 'halloween series' to finish up, but here's what i have so far!

i'm quite pleased with it, cos after i showed it to my youngest brother, he went "EWW that's DISGUSTING!" and you know how brothers always try to gross you out? it's sweet satisfaction to be able to gross him out this time! :P

also, i've finally figured out how to texture icecreams, at least, to my satisfaction! i'm loving these, will be making more for my etsy store after this weekend, my wrists are sore from all the photoediting....and 2 hrs setting up the links to my friends all over again (forgot to back them up after i re-set the template for the blog -_-")....

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ebi Quick How-To

Ebi Quick How-To
Originally uploaded by Snowfern

1) layer the colours you wish to use, i used fimo translucent orange and for the whiter bits, 1:1 translucent white:white with a touch of translucent orange. stretch clay out to desired size (for 1:12 scale i have the length about 5mm or 3/16")

2) slice thinly, approx 1mm slices

3) roll into a log making sure the stripes run horizontal to the length of the prawn

4) gently smoosh it down onto the tile

5) scour approx 4 lines equally horizontally across with the razor blade taking care not to cut through the clay, then using your needle tool make a thicker dent vertically down the prawn

6) for the fiddly tail bits, i used translucent KATO clay as it tends to bake stronger, coloured it slightly by smearing a thin bit of red onto it, and cutting it into tiny rhombus shapes, bake according to product specifications. after it has been baked and cooled, using a touch of liquid fimo to act as a glue and strengthener, attach it to the end of the prawn body

7) carefully slide your blade under the prawn to lift it off the tile.

all that's left to do is to make your sushi rice (i use a small blob of 1:1 translucent white:white and textured it with my needle tool), place prawn gently on top, bake, then gloss if desired. the prawn sushi hasn't been glossed yet.

have fun! please do not re-distribute this tutorial without permission, all i ask is a link back to my blog. :)

Difficulty level: Intermediate

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Yotsuba's Teatime - Fruit Tarts!

Yotsuba's Teatime - Picnik collage
Originally uploaded by Snowfern

I limited my play time with clay to an hour, so it was mostly assembling stuff i had already made. this is what i came up with, a couple of orange tarts using a segmented orange mold i'd made quite a while back (i vaguely remember blogging about it....sheesh i'd have to check ).

i think it's quite sweet :D here's Yotsuba in the cafe, she wants her tea! she's also brought her friends to join her ^ ^

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thank You Sue!!!!

Thank You Sue!!!!
Originally uploaded by Snowfern

oh wow, i feel so undeserving of these, they are from a new friend, Sue, look at how gorgeous they are!! i have watched Totoro at least AT LEAST 5 times, so this is indeed a treat for me :D

but i have to admit, i've fallen head over heels in love with the bear. he's soooo tiny! i think bear-ly (haha) 1.5cm tall! i really don't know how she did it :O and he's jointed and poseable too!

Thank you SOO much Sue! <3 made my day *still beaming*

Saturday, October 10, 2009

halloween cupcake cases

halloween cupcake cases
Originally uploaded by Snowfern

i hope to make some halloween cupcakes, just for fun, but first, here are some cupcake cases! i will probably be making a few prep boards as well, those seem to move well on my etsy even though i've only listed and sold 2 (so much for sample size haha)....

i've also listed this black doily, it's made of pure silk and is only an inch in diameter for all its detail. :D you can view more details on it here...i know the price is a tad steep, i'll adjust it later i'm just not sure how much to list it for....i spent a lot of time and effort on it, so i'm honestly not very keen on parting with it since it's really time consuming to make it.

another way of displaying it....i actually listed this cake a long time ago but there wasn't much interest in it and since i loved it so much i decided to take it off and keep it for myself :P

not much else happening, weather's shifting so i've had to bust out the i'm always sick of being sick grr.