Welcome to my blog

If you enjoy finding a lot of different outlets for your creativity, then we may just be kindred spirits.
This blog is an outlet for my interest in miniatures, crochet, plastic canvas, and many other various arts and crafts.

I also love walking, taking digital photos, and most recently, have rediscovered an old love...bike riding! I purchased an amazing new bike, a comfy Townie by Electra this summer, and have been having a grand time exploring the area as though for the first time. It's like being a kid again!

If you enjoy any of these things too, pour a cup of coffee and tea, sit down, and join me.

Take care!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Hagrid's hut plastic canvas dollhouse, inner walls completed

Plastic canvas Hagrid's Dollhouse, inner walls

Plastic canvas Hagrid's dollhouse, inner walls
 I've been working on a plastic canvas Hagrid's Hut dollhouse, to go along with my needle felted Hagrid doll.

I can't believe how much fun I'm having with this project (or how obsesses I'm becoming over it, lol).

I am not following a pattern, so I looked at several photo's of Hagrid's hut online. Hagrid's hut seemed to change from movie to movie, with some showing wooden walls, other's showing stone walls. My version has both the dark walls, with some stone around the fireplace, and the bench, just like the original, but I added some other touches for color, like the banner over the door, the Gryffindor crest over the fireplace, and the green shelves.

As I stitched, I caught myself imagining that this was the new Hut, built after the fire in the last movie, lol.  The crest is magical, of course, and it changes color, so I outlined it with the normal red and gold, and used different colors inside.  The crest wasn't originally magical...the idea just formed in my head, lol, because I realized as I stitched that the person who created the crest pattern used the wrong colors.  Here's the link to the free pattern, if you'd like to try it yourself: http://pdfcast.org/pdf/harry-potter-plastic-canvas-patterns  I'll also try to embed it below, but if it doesn't work, just click on the link above and it will take you to the pattern.  There are crests for the other Hogwarts houses as well.

Plastic canvas inner walls for needle felted Hagrid's dollhouse

Needle felted Hagrid, showing off his fireplace 
 Hagrid seems pleased with his magical color changing crest, doesn't he?

The fireplace is 3 holes deep on the inside, although it's hard to see in the photos.  I'm going to try to sculpt a fire to sit inside.

The doorway wall has two hooks on either side of the door frame.  My plastic canvas lantern is hanging on the link.  I'm going to sculpt a candle to set inside (the top of the lantern comes lifts off, so it will be easy to add later).

So far, everything except for the banner and crest was made without a pattern.

The house is a bit bigger than standard dollhouse size, because Hagrid is half giant.

I'm going to start working on the outer walls next, then I'll do the floor.  I'll do the roof last.  I want to make beams that lay across the walls, to hang items like cooking utensils, baskets, and ropes, just like in Hagrid's movie hut.

I'm also going to make a round kitchen table, and possible an easy chair.
Needle felt and plastic canvas, Hagrid's Hut
I'm having a lot of fun with this project; I can't wait to see how it will turn out.

I hope you enjoyed the photos.

Take care!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Making Hagrid a Hut in plastic canvas, dollhouse sized

Inner wall for Hagrid Hut dollhouse in plastic canvas
 I am having so much fun with this project!  I finished the first inner wall for Hagrid's Hut. I made it in plastic canvas.  It has a built in bench with room for storage underneath, and build in shelves, one with doors and a towel rod.  The finishing touches will come later.  I had a hard time making the shelves crooked, lol, but I managed.  I didn't want it too perfect because the real Hagrid's Hut is a bit of a mess inside.  I'll have to buy more brown yarn, as the only brown that I have in quantity is too fuzzy (you can see it on the back walls).  I'm making the inner doorway wall next, then the fireplace wall.
Needle felted Hagrid with Plastic canvas hut wall
Here's Hagrid in front of his new wall. He seems to like it :-).

I can't wait until the hut is done, so I can work on miniatures to go inside. I found a tutorial online for the cutest wizard book, with a bulging eye.  
Here's a link if you want to try it, too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36z9GUJt_-E

I'm also going to make a mini Monster book of Monsters, and a Care of Hippogriffs book, a broom, a cage with an owl or other animal, a Hogwarts crest, a wand, some potions, and that screaming plant...mandrake root, lol.

I've been sick with asthma and unable to move around very much, so this is a good project to keep my occupied.

Have a fun day!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Needle Felted Hagrid

Needle Felted Hagrid mini
Good morning!
I love the Harry Potter books and movies, and I love plastic canvas and needle felting and dollhouse miniatures.  I decided to try to make Hagrid's Hut, or my version of it, in plastic canvas, but first, I wanted to try to needle felt myself a Hagrid doll.  I wanted him to be in or close to the 1:12 scale, where one inch equals one foot.  The typical male dolls in that scale are 6 inches tall, but Hagrid is half giant so he needed to be bigger.  I came up with this guy, and I had so much fun making him that I stayed up until 4 AM just to finish him.

Needle felted Hagrid maxi miniature
I made my version of Hagrid with an off white core wool batting, over a thin wire skeleton (what is the word doll people use for that, lol?) and then added details in color. His entire body is pose-able, and he can even stand up by himself on rough surfaces like wool or felt.  I made him at night by lamp light and didn't realize his face and hands were lighter than I thought I was making them until the next day, lol, but I'm still happy with him.  His clothes were made from colored wool batting.  I needle felted the pants and red shirt right on to him, but the vest is removable.

Needle felted Hagrid
Here he is, next to a dollhouse table that is a bit smaller than regular 1:12 inch style (it's from my pink plastic canvas dollhouse kitchen).  Doesn't he look like he wants to step through the computer screen and into his house?  Poor guy needs a home, lol.

Needle felted Hagrid
In the above photo, I played around with lighting so it would look like Harry or Hermione had cast the lumos spell  :-) .

Needle felted Hagrid
Here's Hagrid from the side.  His hair is a little longer than the real Hagrid's but I like it...it's so nice and soft.

Needle Felted Hagrid
 Here's Hagrid standing on my laptop, looking into the screen, wondering what mean witch or wizard cast him out of his home, lol.
Needle felted Hagrid with miniature doll in 1:12 scale
Here's Hagrid next to a Mommy doll in 1:12 scale.  I'm hoping he'll fit in Barbie scale furniture, but he may be too short.  I'm working on a plastic canvas chair in Barbie scale right now, and if that doesn't work, I'll have to create my own plastic canvas furniture patterns for him...either that or make a bigger Hagrid, lol.
Needle felted Hagrid with miniature dolls
Here he is with one of the child sized mini dolls.  I think his scale is good, considering he's half giant and the little doll girl is standing on a table to look at him, lol.  I guess I can always make his legs longer if I want him to be taller.

I find the older plastic canvas patterns don't really follow the modern scales.  The smaller dollhouses are in a variety of scales, but not quite as big as 1-12 scale, and the Barbie patterns also seem to vary.  I made a picnic table that the pattern says is for Barbie sized dolls, but it's way too small for 11 inch dolls, and better fits the 8 inch ones.  The chair I'm making now, also for Barbie sized dolls, seems huge in comparison.  I'll just have to finish it to see what size it will be.

Have a great day!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Lilac Jelly

Lilac Jelly
I have a ton of lilacs and they look and smell wonderful.  I googled "are lilacs edible" and found out that they are!  I also found a recipe for lilac jelly at this wonderful site:  http://the3foragers.blogspot.ca/2011/05/lilac-recipe-lilac-jelly.html .  I decided I had to try it.

Picking lilacs to make lilac jelly
I have deep purple, regular and white lilac trees in my yard.  I decided to leave out the white, in order to get more color (or so I hoped).

Plucking flowers of lilacs for lilac jelly
I sat on the deck yesterday morning and pulled the flowers off the lilacs, one by one.  At first I felt bad about this, but soon I entered a relaxed, zen like state.  The fragrance was absolutely amazing.  The recipe called for 2 tightly packed cups of flowers, and it took about an hour to get that many.

Rinsing lilacs
Next I rinsed the lilac flowers.  Aren't they gorgeous?

Getting ready to pour boiling water on lilac flowers
I put the lilacs in a sterilized jam jar, and put water on to boil, outside, so I wouldn't steam the house up.

Lilac infusion, or tea
I really, really hated the next step, but I did it. I poured boiling water over the lilac flowers...but not before apologizing first.  Poor flowers.  I put the lid on and headed out to camp so the flowers could sit overnight.

Front yard at camp, Goulais Bay, Lake Superior
The next day, I strained the flowers through a coffee filter that I placed in a clean strainer.

straining lilac infusion
I was very surprised by the color of the resulting liquid...a sort of orangy-brown.

Strained lilac infusion/tea
I added 4 tablespoons of lemon juice and wow, did it ever turn colors fast!  I love this deep, vibrant pink.

lilac infusion with lemon added
Next I added the pectin, and watched the color deepen. I was beginning to feel like a witch, or alchemist.

lilac infusion with lemon and pectin added
I added the 4 cups of sugar, and the mixture turned a milky pink. It came to a boil so quickly that it overboiled.  Next time, I need to remember to use a bigger pot.

lilac mixture with sugar added
The recipe said to cook it for 1 minute and then put it in a water bath for 10 minutes.  I, with my mathematically challenged brain, reversed the numbers and cooked it for 10 minutes, and watched it turn back into the original orangey-brown color.  Sigh.

Overcooked lilac jelly
Then I poured it into sterilized preserving jars...the tiny ones...and put it in a water bath for 1 minute.  Then I reread the directions and realized it should stay in for 10 minutes, so I left it in for 10 minutes, lol.

Lilac jelly in water bath
My  mother gave all of my canning equipment away and I didn't have the $50 bucks to buy a new starter kit so I rigged up a tinfoil pan with wire to set the jars on so they could be easily lifted out.  It looks awful, but it worked.

Finished Lilac Jelly
The finished lilac jelly tastes amazing, even though I overcooked it by 9 minutes, lol.  It is sweet, but with a touch of tang. It reminds me of candy (not caramel) apples. You know, the pretty red candy apples?  Sort of like that.  Very yummy.

Finished lilac jelly
I will defnitely make this again,and not cook it for as long next time.  I think I would have ended up with Lilac  Candy if I would have cooked it even a minute longer, lol.  Mine is very think...but yummy.

Next time, I will use a bigger pot, and NOT overcook the stuff.

If you try this, I'd love to see the results.  Take care!