Tuesday, October 25, 2011

investigating miniature macarons...

in halloween colours. I am loving this range of bold macaron colours, ever since i started on the "I'm a Giant" challenge, i've had to dig deep to figure out what i'd like to incorporate into my work, vs what i think would sell well.
 it all started with this. i made a batch of purple macaron boxes, in both 1:12 and 1:24 scale...i chose to work with slightly thinner papers (120GSM) cos i knew that it'd be difficult to fold the 1:24 boxes.

this is the paper i prefer, and will use it for my own bakery setting. it's tracing paper according to the packaging, and the blurbs stated that it was suitable for printing too. the thing is, my printer's ink (hp 1050) is not waterproof, so i had to deal with a powdery sealant (krylon matte) that worked, but irked me as i had to wipe off the powdery residue. i think it's part and parcel of using matte sealants, does anyone else have a better brand to recommend? i've tried 2 brands, a general purpose acrylic epoxy matte from the hardware store (RJ london?) and the krylon one, both leave a similar powdery residue :( i've read online that it's 'normal', well, i don't like that i might be breathing in that stuff!

I've made some halloween coloured macarons. The idea this time was to work with colours I enjoy, and since I've moved all my stuff to the office, my wardrobe is now back in use XD looking into it revealed...that although I no longer have that many funeral colours in it, the palette resembles...well. the above XD shocking, i know *eyerolls*

I'm really happy with the way these turned out. I previously made my macarons looking matte, cos that's what they are generally photographed to look like. However, my personal photos of macarons (that I've subsequently consumed, YUM) are more...sticky looking. colour wise, these are less one-dimensional too, which adds to the realism. What do you think? do you prefer matte or these satiny ones?

and since I was supposed to be preparing the 1:24 for my bakery, I thought to start selling them too :) I wish my camera battery hadn't run out, luckily I'd finished taking photos of the items for sale.....i'd stupidly turned off the power cord to my extension last night before i left the office, so the battery isn't ready for use yet :( and it was such a bright and sunny morning too! *sadface*

this is my fave set, for its simplicity and versatility. you can find the rest of my 1:24 macaron box sets here:


There are a few other macaron boxes and this macaron display set, also in my store now.


it's been interesting, and i'm going to move on to other 1:24 items. familiar favourites that have frustrated me the past week, my silicon putty has reached its expiration date and is no longer setting up the way it's supposed to, resulting in 2 ruined sets of 1:24 masters that i worked so hard on. looks like i'm going to have to do things the hard way. which is kind of QQ considering the sheer number i was hoping to churn out for the display window T-T ah well. try, try again seems to be how i always do things T-T I WILL DO IT OR DIE TRYING


have a great week ahead! and Happy Deepavali to those who celebrate it :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

I'm a Giant Challenge Day 5

so....i have been surfing a lot more than i tend to due to this challenge, because i feel like a fish out of water. design is something i enjoyed mostly for 'clever' little functionality features like Joseph Joseph's beauuuuutiful nested mixing bowls/colanders (http://www.josephjoseph.com/preparation-bowls/nest-8) which i came across first in a random kinokinuya book that i browsed whilst cousin was looking for resources, and then at Spotlight. if ever i get my own place (yea i'm not optimistic about this) that's going straight on my list of things i want in my kitchen.

haha sidetracked again. the above pic is my 'mood board', up till Call of the Small (sorry i don't know the blogger's name!) mentioned hers (?) in a facebook post for the I'm a Giant challenge, i had no idea that such things existed, nor their purpose. i had been moaning (again) to bf for the umpteenth time about the headaches i keep getting when i try to visualize stuff. he says i'm an extreme left-brained person (wow a simple google search throws up too much jargon for me to filter through), thus my difficulty and 'inability' to look at things on a whole. i don't subscribe to too many generalizations, but there might be truth to it. on a bus ride home, he talked me through some visualization exercises and....yep, i got myself a real whopper of a headache. :P

anyhow, due to these few incidences, along with the progress that many of the participants in the challenge have made, i thought to myself, "there must be a systematic approach to this, in order for me to be more efficient at all this 'creative stuff'", and dragged out all my little random stashes i've 'hoarded' over the years. OOOOOOOOOOOOO IT WORKS O.O. i was real fired up i tells ya. previously, i tended to do the same, i have little boxes of random fave items that i often bring out so that i can try and visualize putting them together but have never thought of approaching it using colours or 'moods' as a theme (eh?) sounds silly right, that i had to jump through hoops to get here, but truly, i often feel so ....disadvantaged when it comes to the creative arts. prob explains why this blog is so whinyyyyyyyyyy ;P come, let's see what i dug up!

 these are my fave beads and findings, most of the bugle beads and fake crystals were from my beading days. i have tonnes of different coloured miyuki delica beads begging to be used, but i didn't find them appropriate for my 1:24 needs. as Sans rightly assessed, i enjoy industrial styles best, judging from my hoardings of aluminum, teal, brass and steel coloured beads. i didn't even make all that many items out of them, i just enjoyed how they looked o.O

the filigree findings were used previously in my older photoshoot area. i didn't exactly have the same 'theme' in mind while building this 1:24 bakery/cafe(?) however now that i'm looking at these pics again, stuff is solidifying and yea....i think i'll use it still :P

 these beads....although i do enjoy the calming, airy quality to the colours (the white 'netting' behind is for contrast so i can imagine it with light bright whites)...they aren't exactly what i had in mind. i find that i tend toward bolder colours.....
i thought about a bit of bling, and you know what, i surprised myself. i actually -do- like the pairing! i don't know how i will incorporate these yet, i do have a few ideas i'm working on and will mix and match it up, hopefully before the december XD i see little cake stands, lamp display bases made out of them.

the flat back plastic little bling pieces (donno their names) were really cheapo ones i bought at Spotlight, ages ago cos i decided to 'bling up' a cork board i had used for tacking my tatting pieces to....alas, i too had no idea what 'decoden' was back then, and it turned out rather disastrously. i think i might be able to take a photo of it, i'm pretty sure it's fallen behind my shelvings and boxes and has probably lain there for over 3 years :P

and then there's this. i got it at Daiso (yay!) thinking it would make a nice addition to a modern 1:12 scene, like a fruit bowl, or a stand of some sort, even a lighting fixture. i just had no scene to put it into. i might convert this into a modern 1:24 chandelier....hrnm.

see how oversized it is for the 1:24 XD but ish shinyyyyyy i RIKES

 wonky 1:24 cake display thingamabob i made ages ago. using a thumb tack and wooden disk. needs LOTS of work :P
 i found a stash of old mirror pieces (again, was gonna use it for beading but....-_-") and i think it'll add an interesting dimension to my food display! oh yes, the background is just one of my fave pieces of scrapbooking paper that i never had the heart to use, but i wanted to have a little bit of uh...i donno the term/word, texture? dimension? other than plain white walls and it's supposed to help me visualize.... right now i think it would work with the colours i've decided upon. ^ ^

these are also crafting/scrapbooking items i picked out ages ago (you can tell by the rust LOL)...man it's hard to write about stuff when you name most things in your life 'thingamabobs' and 'whatchamacallits'. i need a thingamajig to help me sort out these names....heh heh heh. they're on uhm. eyelet things (eh? rivets? studs?) and jewellery findings that miniaturists seem to enjoy using as napkin rings. i bought them with that intention, however, my idea of fine dining is any establishment that provide cutlery, so you can imagine the standard of living i am accustomed to :P really? napkin rings?!? haha ouch don't hit me

since 1:24 isn't something i've really worked with, i don't have all that many accessories to use and will probably have to make stuff from scratch. let's hope they don't turn out too miserable XD

that leads up to a little more progress on the actual 'dollhouse' itself. what originally was to be a roombox has grown into a little display. i'm trying to keep it modular so it'll be easier to photograph and store.

speaking of storage....

i've devoted an entire drawer *LONG DRAWN OUT DRAMATIC GASP*  to this project! (for those who don't know, i'm horrifically commitment-phobic, what, 6 years in a relationship is not too long before marriage!!!  ;P ;P ;P) haha kidding aside, it's really quite a nice feeling to get stuff i want to include in this project all in one place...additional lace sticker and beaded boxes are just so i can visualize a different contrast/colour scheme....i think i'll try to minimize on the black...kinda reminds me too much of halloween now that it's just around the corner...that...and i've decided on the main colour to use being....

PURPURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! but this is for another post, cos it seems i only have time to work on challenge stuff over the weekend, so mondays will mostly be a double-post o.O

how's your challenge coming along? i wanna see and play along tooo~!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

1:12 Hydrangeas

made with ADC. It's gonna be bf's mom's birthday soon, and i decided to make her flowers this year.
 1:12 isn't the ideal scale since she rightfully commented that my previous gifts were too small to see T-T but i figure, flowers are a little larger than foods, and since she likes flowers (she visits the annual flower shows we have here in SG) and keeps some at home, this should be a more suitable gift.
 it matches the ones she got for CNY this year, alas, i lost the photo that i took of it during The Great Format of 2011 :E :( as usual, being overly critical of my own work, the petals and leaves could be thinner, the leaves could have more detail/shading etc etc....but i do love the soft effect of it :)

wonder what my aunt's fave colour is (IIRC she doesn't really have one hrm...) as her birthday is coming up, and i hope to make one for her too. each large 'ball' (eh, what's the term, floret?) has approx. 55-60 individual 'flowers' T-T. i tried to be less symmetrical with the colouration of it, but as usual, couldn't let go of my need for a certain order and math, and counted it out of curiosity (necessity) :P

there's lots of WIP itty bitties littering my table, time to turn my attention back to them, though it is a little too late to sell halloween stuff :(

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Printables, copyright, a miniaturist's dilemma

i've finally gotten the cupcake and donut box printables up :P am also offering them as a set, with the macaron and cookie boxes, for a 3-in-1 price.


i've adjusted the prices for the printables. the original price was an introductory one, i didn't know if anyone would be interested and i had no idea how much cut Etsy and Paypal was taking out of each transaction. after calculating the costs, it just seemed so daunting the number of these i had to sell to even make up for the time i spent making, editing, printing, testing, prototyping, photographing, listing....i guess this is part and parcel to those who are in the industry, but for an independent seller...ouch. not to mention the worries over copyright etc.
Cupcake Box Printable, available here

one of the main reasons why i started looking into designing my own packaging, was so that i could make neat items that did not directly come from real life items. when i first started selling, i skirted round the copyright issue by simply scanning and modifying packaging, but that bothered me a lot. miniatures are a replica of real life items, but when does blatant copying and infringing upon design and copyright start in our mini world? such is the dilemma i (we) constantly face when we try to sell our works.

Donut Box Printable available here

on the one hand, much of what i make for my mini house is what i generally love in my real world life. so why wouldn't i want to include it in my mini world? but as you all know, it's super hard to get a mini replica, for an affordable price, as the actual manufacturers don't make them! Re-ment was a great source of pleasure for me, their collaborative work with Sanrio and Disney (or maybe they just purchased copyrights, ionos) is stunning, but not everything fits into my 1:12 and 1:24 fantasies.

i avoid making such items cos it's hard to replicate accurately, even if it's for personal use. it draws a different sort of attention, which leads to temptation to selling more of it, which is a Bad Thing (tm). in making more and more minis, i have found that i personally enjoy making my own take on things, especially when it comes to packaging, food designs etc. food and fashion are non-copyrightable (in -most- parts of the world, i was so surprised to find out about this).  surprised? so was i way back when i found out about it via


i don't recall how i came about this link, probably while watching TED videos on youtube way back when. it was about then that i stopped taking requests for copyrighted works, or started adding my little touches to try and be different from the typical foodie items. of course i would still make food items that are wildly popular or trendy (laduree items, minus the logos etc. cos logos are still copyrighted) cos they're fun to make, i like them, and they sell well. such is life, i still have bills to pay :(

being a maker of mainly miniature food items, i have long come to terms with keeping away from sticky (haha) copyright issues by avoiding the direct replication of logos and packaging etc. besides, making the same stuff over and over again is BORING~! i picked up more than a tip or two from the video, that is, make something NEW and too difficult to copy. that way, not only do i explore new ways of doing things, i also come up with new and fresh ideas (to me anyway) or, improvements upon old ways and ideas by adapting them into modern twists and takes on traditional items and foods.

so where do we draw the line in this 'art world' of ours? i don't know if i can start calling myself an 'artisan', and am far from becoming an 'artist'. these are labels i'd rather not put on myself while i'm still learning the craft. though i know that the learning doesn't ever end....XD

after thinking heavily and struggling about all the copyright/copycat stuff, and the few recent incidences in my circle of friends and acquaintances, i decided to write a little on this touchy topic. i'm not yet ready to go all out and plaster everything i do and make with my name (though i have been doing that only to raise a bit of profile hehhee), but part of having this blog is not just to chart my progress, i like to think i'm also sharing with newcomers a different side to making and selling miniatures, perhaps they can take with them a little more knowledge, and avoid certain pitfalls and heartaches that i've experienced.

it has been a long and painful transition for me, having to change my mindset from that of a 'hobbyist' to a 'seller'. thanks for being kind to me, listening, caring and sharing along the way.


(i promise, the next post will be more interesting than me whining/ranting, or touting my works)

((ok i'll still be touting my works, heck that's what this blog is for....i think. *confused*))

I'm a Giant Challenge Day 4

 I have been working on designing some printables for 1:12, and wanted to keep in mind that i wanted them to work for 1:24 too, so they would go into my little 1:24 roombox. no surprises, it's going to be a bakery!! XD stick with what i do, and know, right? ;)

these were printed on 120gsm paper, and sprayed with a matte acrylic finish. the designs are slightly different than those i have available on my etsy for 1:12....that's cos i wanted my very own set to be shpeshul~~~ :P

they're soooo little! i ADORE!!!! in the background you can see my daiso clamp holding down the last part of the display unit....the counter is still unfinished, i plan to gesso, sand, paint, etc in batches, so i still have time to reconsider the colour scheme!

I originally wanted to do just a roombox, but like Asuka, the ideas kept growing, and growing -_-" now i'm re-designing the floor plan to accommodate perhaps even a 2nd floor for a cafe....ahhh~~ ok Cindy, just finish the bakery part first HOKAY??????? :P :P :P *tries to calm self down*

hee. Call-of-the-small is another fave modern mini site of mine (along with Ann's AmazingMiniatures), and her latest post alerted me to an update on the challenge, go take a looksee :)


wow. a quick search on google threw up so many participants! it seems most of them have something to decorate (a ready dollhouse/roombox), or already had style in mind before they started....... how they like to decorate stuff, and put more stuff they like together in a beautiful whole. me, i'm still designing the damn container for me to design MORE things in grr) and having no idea what 'designy' stuff means, worst of all, chronic inability to look at things on a grander scale...i probably misunderstood the whole concept but i'm gonna trudge along and see what results i get on 15th dec anyway. such is the way i 'work'. don't even know the names and terminology.....what an alien but beautiful they live in :O sadness, i don't even have that much time to do my research :( probably claw my own eyes out trying to figure out how to make them in mini with the limited budget and material i have XD

they didn't call it a challenge for nothing! :P ok! time to get back to it, whatever 'it' is i do on a daily basis....*eyes mist over*

Friday, October 14, 2011

Paper Bag Printables

 Another Printable for your personal use! You can find it here on my etsy :)
 The printable includes a guide (or is it vice versa? XD ) to help beginners to making miniature paper printies create a professional finish to their little printies! I guess I consider it a foundation guide to making paper minis, so....it can be suited to anyone really!

Originally wanted to put this up for sale before the macaron boxes printable, but the guide took a lot longer than I thought it would -_-"
also included is a blank version, so it can be used as lunch bags, or a grocery paper bag as well :)

of course, cos i hate those pesky fold lines that are often found on templates, i made my printable in such a way that you can quickly make up batches of bags, with minimal fuss and wrinkles  (to the bag, -and- your forehead!)..hurhurhur......

Check out the rest of my printables here, in the printables section of my Etsy.....and a big big thank you to those of you who purchased my first macaron box printable!! I will be making matching pastry box printables once I am satisfied with the design :P

do let me know what you think of these! nitenite~~~

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Printable: Macaron and Cookie Boxes

Now available here on my etsy, for personal use only.

 I've been looking for nice packaging for a modern bakery, alas, many of the miniature boxes available seem to favour the 'victorian' type, too plain, or too fancy for my liking. i have spent the last 3 days at the office drawing little vectors of various bakery items, and thought that maybe some of you might like to have a set of your own too :)
 thus the printable! I made the boxes to accommodate macarons and cookies of up to 5mm in diameter, in this photo you can see the 2 sizes of macarons i usually make in 1:12(4mm and 5mm) :)
 what i disliked most about most of the box designs out there is the visible folding line, so i constructed my boxes such that i could score, fold, cut then glue them in batches with ease. and they have a clean simple design that (i find) works well in mini!
 will soon have the other boxes ready (for cupcakes, pastries etc) as a printable too, and put them in the printables section of my etsy store and update the news here when they are ready :) They should be made available by this weekend! the boxes will also be available in other colours, so far I've found this Salmon Pink, Pink and Brown to work best, yellow seems too light, but orange works well for me too! Any other suggestions are welcome, and if there's enough demand i might even make customized/commercial versions(but no promises!)

I printed mine on A4 sized 180gsm Glossy Photo Paper by Epson, on an HP Deskjet 1050 All-in-one printer, on "Photo Paper, Best Quality" setting. I used "Bostik" brand tacky glue, i find just a thin layer of tacky glue works best when working with papers. you can also seal it with a spray varnish suitable for papers to protect the prints/colours.

hope you like what you see! ;P

Monday, October 10, 2011

Looking back at the Library Workshop

Congratulations to those featured in this month's issue of Golibrary! HUUUGE thanks to Jane, for organizing this workshop as well as gathering all the materials. it was no easy task! and to all the participants, who managed to figure out what I was going on about, and Stephanie and Peili for coming down to help with the judging!

also, since the skill level of several of the participants were incredibly high for first-timers handling clay, the judges had a hard time deciding on just 1 winner for the individual judging, and so both Seet Chay Koon and Tan Ping Ming were picked as co-winners, thus a feature in the golibrary publication this month ^ ^

you can also visit their blogs here!:

Seet Chay Koon's Blog - http://wellajoy.blogspot.com
Tan Ping Ming's Blog - http://myspace-myarts.blogspot.com

There was also judging based on group efforts and theme, group members Richard Chai, Peh Guat Lian, Lynn Toh, Verdell Tan and Tan Peiqi came together to create items based on a cafe theme, pity you can't really view the detail, i was truly impressed with their works and efforts....i hope they will join us in blogland soon *hint hint* ;)

the participants were encouraged to inject their own creativity and style into their works, where I only provided a basic introductory to the various (understatement?) materials and tools required for creating mini bakery items...with great difficulty i tried -not- to stress the importance of scale as I knew not everyone would be creating for dollhouse scenes....(oh you cannot imagine the pain i had to withstand XD ) but everyone really did well when it came to assembling their items, they were well scaled in relation to the several fruit components too! wish i had more time to go around and help each participant individually, but eh....25 ppl -_-" no way imma teach that many at a shot ever EVER again! but ya la,  IMMENSELY PLEASED, I AM! :P

ok i donno what to say le, stuff like that really gets me all shy and embarrassed-like......*blush*

I'm a Giant! Challenge Day 3

 Not much progress on the 1:24 display, due to strained back/shoulder muscle. did however figure out how to bend acrylic sheets. this was meant to be another display unit (by now the stuff is falling in place right? figured out what it's gonna be yet? :P cos i haven't XD ), but the thinnest sheets I could get were touted to be 1mm thick, and in actuality it was more 1.5mm -_-" super bullet proof displays? o.O

 it wasn't that i miscalculated the measurements, but more cos i wasn't sure my little test on bending the sheets would work, hence i used a scrap piece of acrylic I had lying around.
 but since i had to remove the protective sheet in order to bend the acrylic sheet, i of course messed up while sanding the edges and got some scuff marks onto it :( acrylic is a right pain to work with in that it scratches all too easily :(
think this is a 'before' picture'? 

NOPE. it's also cos i ran out of 'acrylic glue', which is actually either chloroform (which i highly doubt is what they sold me in art friends) or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dichloromethane....i used instead some superglue which is actually a cyanoacrylate adhesive, since i thought hey, it should get the acrylic pieces to 'weld' together, superglue rocks! the results seemed fine a few minutes into assembling it, however the joints were brittle and the whole thing literally fell apart this morning as i moved it around in order to take photos :(

 i'll probably shop around for a better adhesive, the 'acrylic glue' stuff  is quite a *@#&$@#&*$ to work with, even with a syringe/needle it's very fiddly, and i have ruined a number of clear pieces when a drop (or more) of it fell where it shouldn't have

i used this soldering iron & torch, purchased many moons ago in order to learn how to solder (miserable miserable fails) since my regular corded ones were crap, i really like this one, it's a butane torch and up till yesterday i had no idea i could even use it as a hot air device XD serves me right for not RTFM ;P good thing i kept the packaging which had all the instructions on the back. again, got it at a local craft store, art friends. the OLFA blade on the right is the best one i've found for cutting the acrylic sheets, it's kinda tricky, so be sure to wear safety gear *guilty look* and read up online before you start :)

i managed to salvage the clear sheet by buffing it with my dremel and will probably flame polish it using the soldering torch, if i decide to go ahead with the modfiications to the original plan. will scrap this in place of a different design/dimension since it's clear it's too bulky for 1:24. maybe a smallish 1:12 display then. we'll see. :)

Meanwhile, Asuka has also posted about her progress on the challenge! do let me know if you're participating too! ^ ^