Friday, September 30, 2011

Workshops are now available!

ok first I have to apologize for not having relevant pictures, but I'm still working on the demo items students can learn for each session...there have been a number of things I've been doing, and am dying to continue work on the I'm a Giant challenge! I've put up a dedicated page link to chart my progress, am looking forward to seeing the other bloggers' progress too! Do comment with your bloglink if you're participating too!

I'm revisiting an old item, as work on the wholesale list progresses. I've decided to switch over to using ADC for most of my larger scale items as it's easier on my hands (polymer clay at larger scales = too much time wasted conditioning and mixing clay colours), and it's much lighter so the dolls can actually pose better with them.

Thinking back on the process, I wonder why I even bothered detailing each individual kernel -_-" But in my mind, it adds to the realism, be honest though, should I even have bothered? Each corn gunkan-maki has approx 20-21 kernels which takes about 45mins to an hour to just ROLL out -_-" inclusive of painting time, I spent over 7 hrs (excluding drying time) for just 3 measly corn sushi *digs out eyes* Will probably have to use 'dummy' pieces for those at the bottom....but somehow...somehow....yeayea the OCD tendency has kicked into high gear lately.

Main reason being THIS:
I did mention that Inkscape is super uber duper fun, right? FINALLY I am able to make my own graphics! There's a tonne of free stuff out ther, but read the licensing terms carefully though, there is so much to learn. to keep things simple I only use material that is free for personal and commercial use, with no attribution necessary. I'm still working on my bakery boxes, have a few printed that need to be folded ^ ^ Can't wait to finish them, maybe tomorrow when Asuka comes over to the office again to play! v ^ ^

time to play compare and contrast, old vs new (left vs right):

although i prefer the colour of the polymer clay, this test onigiri is a remake. took 4 hrs rolling out the fricking tiny rice grains to make a new onigiri master/mold. the smaller one I feel had grains too small for 1:3 :( size is about the same, but I think I just need to adjust the translucency for the ADC to get it right :) it's hollow at the back though LOL too impatient to wait for a large piece of clay to dry :S

Tamago (Egg) two were made from polymer clay...I find ADC does lend a certain 'softness' to the larger scales...

the Ikura (Salmon Roe) looks the same, but I've switched techniques and feel the newer one looks more realistic :)

 uhm yea. the sukerukun works much better than the polymer clay, don't you think? I still need to work on the shapes, although I did go for the rounded edges look cos I mean to wrap them up as 'supermarket sushi' XD still working on the labels!

and the one I'm proudest of, the Tuna (I donno which cut) nigiri!!!!! the colour can be tweaked a little pinker and maybe a bit more opaque but that depends greatly on the type of cut I'm trying to portray I guess....

This certainly has been an interesting exercise, comparing and contrasting my own work. looking back at my earlier sushi, I feel they're incredibly cartoonish, and I'm almost embarrassed that I sold them :( but back then, I was darn proud of 'em! I'm glad I didn't give up and my customers didn't give up on me...

technically, I don't think I could work with sukerukun at 1:12. it dries really fast, and these took a lot of experimentation to get 'right' :( moreover, caning with ADC = plenty of wastage....well i guess i'll be making a lot of makizushi XD

omnomnom! i love this shot! *struts around boastfully* it was almost 6pm and I was panicking about having to take pics without sunlight....luckily it came out alright XD also, <3 the maneki neko I got for bf a long time ago.....XD

*mutters under breath* stupid speck of dust.
well. even the plate looks slightly better hurhur :X changed the way I made the sushi too! though the packets look weird on that plate LOL it belongs with supermarket sushi....:S

ok last vanity shots! cos i finally got some good pics which required minimal to no editing YAY (i've just thrown my first photography-editing tantrum 3 hrs after taking the first pic) hurhur -_-"

thanks for indulging me @^_^@

go home le.........

oh ya, link to my workshops page is on the top right of my blog. or you can follow the link here:

still sorting out my webpage and stuff.....gonna be a lot of shuffling around.......@ @

I'm a Giant! Challenge Day 1

Well, it was done over 2 days actually, cos I ran out of the mounting board (I'm not sure what it's called actually, it's about 1/16 inch thick and kind of like a really thick piece of cardboard or cardstock). Had to take pics using my crappy Nokia N95 handphone as the camera is in the office :P 

Clockwise from left to right: 
Heavy-ish Mooncake Box (to hold down pieces while waiting for glue to dry)
 1:24 roombox, i hope to make it modular, gonna add on another level
"Nicole's" wood glue, not specially purchased, saw it when I bought my first batch of wood pieces for mini making and picked it up cos I was too tired to go compare with the other glues. so far so good!
Lego bricks, act as a 'squaring' tool since I'm too cheap(broke) to buy a proper one
Protractor, to draw out those pesky lines
My fave "Sakura Kit Kat" pencil. lost the mini kitkat that was swinging from the top T-T it tasted -ok-, couldn't be that good nor bad since I don't remember what it tasted like, bought it for the pencil XD
Craft knife
Tongue depressor, to spread the wood glue
Metal ruler
Took this while I was weighing down a backing piece.

hrm. not quite tabula rasa. but to me, definitely a blank slate.
uh. obligatory shot. i donno why i took this XD

i think i'll update the costs in the 'Challenge' page I've set up, you can see the link to the right of this blog :) Or, you can click on the following link:

Can you guess what it's going to be? ;) (haha i'm thinking this is waaay too easy.)

Sunday, September 25, 2011


ho ho ho ho ho! another challenge! I found out about this via Ann of Amazing Miniatures and even before checking out the organizer's blog, I knew right away that I would be participating!

You can check out the details here:

I started almost immediately and quickly realized I did not have enough material at home to work on it. I hope to document and complete it, as usual, I don't have anything in mind, just gonna wing it and see how it goes. Right now, I'm leaning towards a 1:12 and a 1:24 scale setup, cos that would be SUPER CUTE CAN? XD

I hope to also keep my costs down by minimizing purchases and utilizing the stash (hoard?) I have on hand. I love challenges cos it gives me a goal to work on, which somewhat keeps my mind from wandering as much as it does.......

Costs so far: SGD$4.80 for mounting board

Join us?

P.S. For those who have been waiting for me to update on courses (SORRY!) I hope to settle on course details soon for foundation classes on either polymer clay or air dry clay. Also, I think it would be nice for beginners to participate in a short 1-session introductory to both polymer clay and air dry clay in order to decide which medium would suit them better. Details should be finalized by this weekend, or you can email me at snowfern at gmail dot com if you wish to keep informed when the courses are ready :) I'm sorry I keep delaying it, I have been busy setting up an office space where students can feel comfortable learning about scale miniatures :) Gotta do it right the first time!

p.p.s. am also cleaning up the blog, so don't panic! the links should be in individual pages to the right.

NOTE TO SELF: add more from my bookmarks when i get back to the office tomorrow. :P

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Exploring Design

First! A preview of what I've been working on :) The breads are pretty old, I made them *gasp* haha
april last year :O They were actually prototypes, mostly made out of ADC....I'm glad to report a year + later they still look pretty good ;) I still have to finish up the signage for it, and give it a sealant before I'll show it off proper ;)

The display is something I'd been thinking of for a while now. I have made lots of foods, and have them in various little ziploc baggies in shoeboxes waiting to be used for 'when i have a proper roombox/dollhouse bakery'....but as with most things I do, my approach is bottom up, i.e. i tend to focus on the smaller manageable items and work my way up to fill up 'the whole picture'. Some days I think I got it all bass ackwards, but it's just how my brain works :(

Moving to the office has given me a chance to assess my work so far. Since starting this blog to chart my minimaking what, almost 3 years ago (AHHH!!!!!!!!!!) I am happy to give myself a passing mark on progress! I think I've progressed technically to a point where I'm happy and comfortable with working with both air dry clay and polymer clay. There are still many other foods I would like to try (ack fish) to make...I know I'll get to it eventually, I just find it difficult to sell them 'as-is'. After all, you need to put food on plates, take them out of packaging etc, right?

Since I've been thwarted by all my attempts at purchasing plates I like (I have tried from 3 different sites to purchase Falcon and Chrysnbon plates, they replied "Sorry, sold out" after I put in an order QQ ), then trying to make my own plates (I gave some miserable attempts away to Sans, she manages to find uses for almost anything 'distressed' lol awesomeness, no wastage!), and AHHH I GIVE UP.

not for sale ;) Personal use only! hurhur copyright

and so I moved on to packaging. You've probably noticed my earlier works, like the sweet packagings and various boxes, to doilies, all not so good cos I had zero-to-minimal experience with design. But cringeworthy as they were, I took away valuable learning experience from it, like how to work with papers, and re-visiting my dusty tatting skills....(gosh time to clean up my blog and tag my posts grr)...and learning about copyright laws from Carol of blog is inspirational, and i love her work too!)..I actually meant to explore designing my own packaging in Aug 2010 :O :O :O Sorry Carol, it's taken so long to write about it -_-"

moving along....

I downloaded GIMP and started using it as often as I could withstand getting used to the interface....:P

Even with these resources, my best friend Google, and much encouragement from my cousin, bf and Asuka, I always chided myself for not being more artistically inclined. Apart from tracing garfield images for friends and drawing eyes in my textbooks, I didn't really doodle much. The best I can recall is playing with spirograph toys and drawing loads of spirograph images on my foolscap paper. i love geometric designs, and especially fractal art, though I cannot for the life of me recall the name of the software I downloaded ages ago to play with :( anyone remember? it might have been "Electric Sheep" (haha! who else went through a cyberpunk/william gibson phase too? 'fess up!), but i don't recall it being so advanced XD. I would put in some numbers, walk off to take a drink and return to see the beautiful designs that would appear on my screen. Math and art, gotta love that combo.

Perhaps due to my lack of experience with drawing, I have constantly told myself that I cannot draw, I am not artistic, etc etc and that has become my go-to excuse for not designing my own website, or making my own packaging/logo. Bf has had to put up with my constant bugging and whinging as he refused to work with me even though he is proficient with graphic design software. He says, and I wholeheartedly agree, that I am a PITA to work with cos I'm way too fussy :P Moreover, he wouldn't even TEACH me how to use the programs cos I'm waaay too impatient and anxious to sit and learn :( I'm an auto-didact by circumstance, not choice! Curse this dreaded attention span, or lack thereof :(

Travelling to and from the office has given me much time to ruminate over my experiences and exploration of this mystical, mysterious 'art world' (hence the wordy post). Frankly, I don't even know what sort of styles and designs I like, nor the names of most of them. Horrifically bad at categorizing them :( Could any of you help me label the stuff I tend to like? I do know I favour stark, clean lines, 'zen' colour schemes and modern minimalistic items. And lacy, kawaii gothic-lolita stuff, which I find really quite polar opposites :S gahhhh :(

I can now work with both GIMP and Inkscape with reasonable ease (basic stuff only! give me more time to mess things up heh), so I've come up with some 'doodles'! I think I'll end this post here, it's almost 10pm and time to go home :X

my first attempt! 

and then, I made more!

and cos I can't figure out how I should make my logo, I 'signed' instead! haha my handwriting isn't ordinarily that neat :S

I've also listed a number of new items, including the boxes in my Etsy Store. Thanks for reading, and looking ^ ^  GO HOME LE~~~~! more practice tomorrow!~

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Modular Shelvings, and some fruits, cakes, sundaes...books?

I have been trying to figure out ways to 'soften' my displays. like my real life living conditions, I generally prefer stark, minimalistic furniture, preferring function over form. I don't think this translates too well in mini. I think one of the hardest things to achieve is to make mini scenes look 'alive', right?

I actually started out thinking of making some kitchen cabinets, but i had no idea even what search terms to use. i know more about what i -don't- like than what i do XD i know for sure that i like modern items. but i'm not all that into design, so i don't know all the names, styles etc. moreover, i knew i wouldn't have the skillset nor materials and tools to execute more intricate designs. :( i told myself to start from basics! and went to my fave site for step-by-step instructions on easy projects.!

i'd been a member for a looong time, always meaning to contribute but back then i didn't own a digital camera. nor did i have any 'clever' projects to share. i know there must be countless resources for mini-woodworking projects, but it's always been my preference for using real life items as references for my other works, so why not just look for actual woodworking plans and scaling them down, easy peasy right?

RIGHT! a cursory search turned up this instructable - awesomeness! EVEN BETTER YET, it's doable in 60 mins :O :O :O as always, i'm not good with reading instructions, so i glanced through the pictures, got a basic idea, and ran to my worktable :D

i don't have any WIP pictures, i do all my woodworking stuff at home, and the camera is always at the office....i don't know how long i took to make the first two (which is shown in the first 2 pics, joined together and painted white. not only was it super easy to make, it was rather modern looking, and designer-ish! and since i moved all my clay stuff to the office, i had all weekend to work on making more of these shelves :P

yuh. i think i got too serious ;) anyhoow, working on these gave me an opportunity to practice and properly figure out how to use my mitre and razor saw, getting consistent pieces, and proper gluing techniques etc. i'd already spent plenty of time previously reading up at various woodworking websites, so it was more honing my skills. to be honest, all the previous pieces i'd made were rather wonky and barely held together by woodglue and a bit of hope :P a bit of blood was shed too, in helping it along XD this time round, i really did want to try using dowels (pins i suppose) but i figured, i'm not selling any of these anyway and i was so happy with the initial results that i went ahead and made manymany more!

this is getting a little draggy. i'm feeling a bit chatty today, so bear with me ;) i love how versatile these modular pieces are, even though they are oddly sized, because i used tongue depressors to make them XD i don't have all that many pieces of craft wood at home :( all i can get at the crafts store are balsa (YUCK) and basswood (nubbad) anyway. i figured i wouldn't even have to spend all that much on 'practicing'! the downside is, many of the sticks were warped, and i believe they had a layer of wax or some other sealant on them. that didn't bother me much, i always sand down my pieces anyway. so the shelves aren't quite uniform. i used lego bricks to square my work, i really did try a number of neighbourhood hardware stores but couldn't find it. :( i guess i'll have to invest in a good one from the crafts store then *sigh*

as for gluing, i used wood glue, and clamped it as best i could onto my table. am going to look for some cheap and strong magnets, and maybe a whiteboard to make a magnetic jig. i would purchase one if the shipping costs weren't astronomical enough to turn all my hair white. 'sides, it's quite fun to DIY hehe

i've been sewing some too, the fabric this time round was something Asuka and I found on one of our 'minimaterial' hunts! i  now have a small stash of cloths that i hope to use more of. am also trying to learn how to use prints :) so far, i'm liking the results, and am keeping a set for myself ^ ^ meanwhile they are also available at my store. all hand sewn by me, cos i wasn't sure how small the stitches on my mom's ancient Singer machine would it'd take me longer to dig it out of her room (she's kind of a hoarder :( ) and set it up.

lol one of these pics is not like the others XD you can find them here! these are about 3cm x 3cm.

i've also made a couple of oven mitts/gloves. likewise, you can find them at my etsy store :)

like me, Yotsuba has pretty big hands....i don't know the name of this Pinky St char (can someone enlighten me?)...but she models how the mitts are wearable :) that's my personal set of course heheh.

there are a number of other items i have in my store, you can check out the foods section...a few have already been sold (yay!!!) or reserved (yay??) heheh.

more pics? OKAY!

these two have been sold ^ ^ thank you! i welcome customization requests if anyone's interested in more :)

and yes, i made the baskets/punnets too! these 2 are still available ^ ^

remember these from a while back? i've finally found them while packing up my stuff, and have them listed too! the striped/checkered set has been reserved, but I can make more similar if anyone's keen on more :)

ok. i think that's it for what i've been mucking around with. as you can see, my photos aren't consistent still. the weather here has been pretty bad, with the haze from Indonesia and the upcoming monsoon season (more probably due to the typhoons in the not-so-neighbouring asian countries), and me not being able to figure out artificial lighting on no budget.....that and having to edit pics just puts me in a bad mood (can't blame everything on PMS!) so....this is as good as it gets XD

i am going to finally try and make some more clay stuff. have a batch of cupcakes and donuts coming up, will update when they're done :) thanks for reading (if you did!) hee