Monday, 21 November 2011

Zombie Teddy, RL Woes

Zombie bear phone charm

I made this for my husband for our anniversary about a month ago. I made him an experimental teddy bear phone charm a while back out of air dry clay and it kind fell apart after one day. He'd been asking me for a replacement ever since. He likes zombies, so Zombie Teddy was born. And I gave up on the air dry clay, this one's made of polymer clay.

Zombie Teddy was a lot easier to make than the miniature food I've been focusing on. I don't have to worry about washing my hands every single time I touch something non-clay just to keep all the little specks of dust out of the clay I'm working on, and I don't have to worry about getting the exact shade of colour either. As it is, this bear came out darker than I expected after baking and darker still after painting.

General reception of Zombie Teddy has been really positive. My hubby loves it and surprisingly, the old ladies at the local church craft center thought it was cute too. I've received a couple of requests from friends to make them some zombie animals and I'll post them up here when I'm done. I also need to get started on the second round of bread and foodstuffs for Pinky, the amount of stuff I sent is no where near enough to fully kit out a bakery. Some ideas are more cookies--decorated ones this time, darker breads to contrast the light coloured ones I sent, and maybe a couple of cakes for the cake window. A few tarts would be good too. Cupcakes would be great, but I'm afraid to attempt them, haha. Those dents down the sides are daunting :p. If only I could cheat by finding something small enough to make cupcake molds out off. Nothing's satisfied me so far!

I'm currently feeling quite down about my job. This relief teacher thing is not going well. I chose it because after volunteering in a few Australian high school classes, I realised how different they were from Bruneian classes and I kinda freaked a bit. I thought that by being a relief teacher I would gain some experience and more confidence in working with these kids. The problem with being a relief teacher is that I don't get enough work. Currently, most of the relief work is being given to the permanent relief teachers who are attached to schools. I've had a teacher try to request me for his Indonesian class, but had to come back and tell me that that position had been given to a permanent relief teacher (they get first dibs). Another job I had lined up for next Wednesday has been cancelled because the meeting the class teacher was supposed to go to had been postponed. It's really quite depressing having two of your jobs cancelled in a row. I doubt I'll get anymore this term, but I'm still hoping. I've applied to the only permanent relief teacher job opening available locally and I'm waiting to hear back from them. I'm not feeling very optimistic about my chances, being a new, inexperienced teacher and all. Blah. 

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Birthday stuff and melon pan turtles

My right hand hurts so I'm not going to type much. I had my birthday at the end of September and it was a wonderful day. I went out for lunch with the knitting group, got a few unexpected gifts and had pasta with my husband at home later that night. My husband had asked me what I wanted for my birthday so I picked out a few Sylvanian items. We ordered late so they actually arrived exactly a week after my birthday. He went and surprised me with the Watermill Bakery on the day itself, because he's sweet like that. I had been staring at the bakery at the local toyshop for months, but never got it because I already had another bakery.  A couple of my closest friends from Brunei sent me the Toymaker set because they thought it was just right for someone who made toys. And my brother-in-law unexpectedly gave me a couple of the baby carry cases. <3


Another two friends pooled together and got me a Lalaloopsy doll. How awesome is that? It's something that I think is cute but would never have gotten  on my own. They're expensive here and I'm already spending all my spare money on other things :P


I got my first teaching paycheck today too :D. Yay!

I've also been working on some sample packets of mini food for the Sylvanian Families forums. I thought that would be a good way to get over feeling iffy about the quality of my product. I've been working on Turtle melon bread, you'd think something that looks so simple would take a lot less than 10 hours to make... I'm sure it took at least that long because I went through a few Midsomer Murders eps and a good chunk of the American version of Life on Mars while working on those turtles. Speaking of Life on Mars, I love that show. It's a pity it never got renewed for a second season. I'll have to pick up the British version at some point because it looks like they actually finished the series and had a sequel besides. I just hope the characters are as fun as the ones in the American version. I love Lt Gene Hunt!

Anyway back to the turtles; I decided to brush some green pastel over the 'shells' because I saw some very cute green melon bread turtles on the net. The colour ended up too bright so I brushed some yellow ochre over the green, which made it look less radioactive.

Some WIP pics:





Tailless, unbaked turtles. They all have tails now, but they're still unbaked. I like to make a whole heap of things before putting them in the oven. Unfortunately that opens up unbaked items to risk of damage. One of my turtles ended up with an unexpected gouge on the top of its head.


I'm also working on decorating that gingerbread house. Not entirely sure how to proceed from here, but I'll figure something out.

I also spend most of my hobby time last night trying to make a kiwi cane. This was my second attempt. The last time I tried I ended up with something that had some very big seeds among all the small ones. I ended up having some parts with no seeds this time. I squashed the cane and tried again, and this was the result:


GAH. The wonky lines! The wonky seeds! Ultra Fail. Squish and retry tomorrow.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Finished bread, Sylvanian babies

I've finished the first round of bread for Okasaneko and myself.

Bread 2

We'll each get half of these.

Had enough bread yet?

These loaves would also look rather familiar to some. That's because I made similar ones a while back while I was experimenting. I really need to expand my range of bread, I don't want to be making the same ones over and over again.

More Bread
I do think the cuts on the short loaves are too deep, but nothing I can do about it now. At least this time I got the baguette scaled properly.


:P Still need to cover it with some matte varnish though. Next I'll make some melon pan turtles and look up some other types of bread to make, I don't think what I've done so far is nearly enough to fill the shelves. Plus the more variety the better!

I've also included some pics of a Sylvanian figurine next to the bread, and some in a bakery window.

Have some more bread.

The windows still look rather bare, so I need to make more goodies to fill it up!


Speaking of Sylvanians, I got this set a few weeks back, and it's one of the most adorable things ever!


It was also an excuse to get that three tier bunk bed, which has darker coloured bedding in this release (it has pastel tones in the regular release). I'm still not really sure where to put this set though. Maybe I should make a very simple little room out of styrofoam and wood for this? :P
I used my accumulated points on BeHappy's site to buy this, which meant that I ended up not having to pay for shipping. I probably would not have gotten it otherwise. I think at AUD36.49, BeHappy offers the best price for this set online. I've not seen cheaper anywhere else. On ebay it's available from various sellers from around AUD51 - 61, not including shipping (ouch).

Anyway, here's a pic of some adorable baby critters:
Tricycle Babies!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Phone covers and misc updates

So much for updating twice a week... :p
Anyway I want to blog about these lovely phone covers from Okasaneko.

hello kitty iphone covers back

She sent them as a gift and I have to say I absolutely love them. I had thought I would like the black one better from her pictures, but I've ended up falling hard for the pink one.

Pink kitty cover front

Look at it! It's so cute and pink! I've loved pink as a young girl (what young girl doesn't like pink? All the 3-4 year old girls at the kindergarten I volunteer at seem obsessed with the colour) and tried to switch to liking the 'cooler' black as a teen--to the point where I got some rather ill advised thick black framed glasses that I thought would make me look cool but ended up making me look like a grandmother instead... Now I'm back to admitting that I really do love pink, especially pastel pink.

Black kitty cover front
That's not to say I don't like the black cover, I think it's pretty awesome as well. It's great having two phone covers I can switch back and forth with. Thanks very much again Pinky!

I've also picked up something very useful last week:


It's that green grass-like matting that you find on produce shelves in the supermarket. I was able to pick up several rolls that were being thrown away. They're a little dirty, and in one of the mats the dirt is so fine that I haven't been able to remove it completely. These are really great for my display shelves. Since I don't like just displaying items by themselves, I'm working on a number of dioramas on my bookshelves to display my stuff.

The green makes excellent grass, a lot better than the green felt I've been using. You can see a bit of it at the top of the pic.

Grass set up

I don't have very good pictures of my shelves, I need to set up a better light source. The grass is only the beginning, I'm planning to add flowers, a blue 'sky' backdrop, fences and maybe a couple of bushes or trees. I took some other pictures for this post but they didn't come out very well, so I'm going to redo them over the weekend. I will probably not have time till then.


I'm currently playing Fallout 3, and it's really fun. I actually started playing last year and never really went past Megaton, which is like, one of the first areas you get to. I restarted again recently with a brand new character and I've been hooked. The world in all its ruin is an awesome place to explore, it's full of fifties inspired surroundings and the old fashioned music somehow really suits the post-apocalyptic feel of the game. Love it. Too much, because my right hand hurts now. The picture is a Rad-Away ad because I can't find my screenshots. :/

I also want to say that I just got a call from the local primary school for a relief teaching job on Thursday. YAY! Finally! I've been volunteering in schools for quite a long time, hoping to get noticed and get a call to come in. I'm a bit nervous about this assignment, and the nervousness will continue to grow as it gets nearer to the day. I got an assignment to do four hours in a kindergarten last week and I couldn't sleep the night before. :/ And I've been volunteering at that kindy every week for the last 1.5 years! I know all the kids and the routines! I don't know anything about the primary school's routines because I've never volunteered there. >_< I hope I do well. Can I have some prayers and good wishes? :D I hope that once I start really working for the schools I'll get more calls, especially next term (there's only two weeks left into this term). I'm going to go bother the other schools sometime this week to see if they have anything lined up for next term which I can hopefully do.

The Shoe Bunny Giveaway

The Shoe Bunny is having an awesome giveaway over at her blog. I found out about it quite late, that's why I'm only posting about it now. There's still a day left and details are here:

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Bread and Badgers

Where are we going?  
Hugh: Daddy, I'm bored. Are we there yet? Where are we going anyway?  
Benjamin: There's no earthly way of knowing 
Which direction we are going. 
There's no knowing where we're rowing 
Or which way the river's flowing. 
Is it raining? 
Is it snowing? 
Is a hurricane a blowing? 
Hugh: Dad...  
Benjamin: Not a speck of light is showing 
so the danger must be growing. 
Are the fires of hell a glowing? 
Is the grisly reaper mowing? 
Yes! The danger must be growing-- 
Hugh: DADDY! Stop being scary! We're not even near the river!  
Bramble: Pfft, crazy badgers.  
I've been working on some bread, both for my bakery and for Okasaneko. It's giving me a good practice so far. I'm also hoping that this project will start to give me enough incentive to get off my ass and start making things more often. I've wanted to make things for friends for a while now, but I've always procrastinated too much. Bad, bad, bad Pei. Bad. Here are the loaves that I've made; they're really basic items from Betsy's tutorial that I've made before, with a few modifications to the way the cuts on the short loaves look.  
Since I've made these before and know the colour mixes you'd think it would taken less time than almost three hours to just make the basic shape and texture the bread! I think sometimes that I'm too picky and I keep redoing the bread if the cuts don't look right. They still don't look 100% right, but I think I should leave it as it is lest I knead more dust into them... Ugh dust! The bane of any clay miniaturist!  
My previous project has not gone so well. I lack piping skills and these are the result.  
Look at all those horrible smears! I kept wiping the icing off the cupcakes because they were the wrong size, off center or the swirl I was trying to do didn't work out. Modelling paste is so messy to wipe off. I think I only got one good one out of all of these. On the bright side, I like my new modelling paste a lot more than my old paste. It's not translucent for one and definitely more icing-like. I'll try to do a comparison tomorrow.  
I haven't done anything to the orange slices and I've only given the cake a few coats of varnish. I've been trying to figure out the best way to decorate it--the way I had meant to do it looks kinda strange. As for the biscuits...  
The cats didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, but with a little more practice and a few more experiments I hope to have some really cute critters soon. I went with brown acrylic paint for the biscuits, but paint is so thin that you can still see all the texturing. The biscuits look more like they are really half chocolate biscuits than cream-coloured biscuits dipped in chocolate.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Walking the Dog

Walking the dog

Harold: Look at what I just got!

Barbara: You know, this situation seems a little odd for some reason.

Daisy: Yeah...

Walking the dog 2

Harold: What? Nah, look at him! Isn't he just a cutie? Well, maybe he's a little bug eyed. His name is Mr. Puggles!

Mr. Puggles: Wuff! *drools*

Walking the dog 3

Daisy: It's not really Mr. Puggles. Never mind, I think you two make a lovely pair. Take good care of him!

Harold: Okay! :D

I've already posted these pictures up on Flickr and the Sylvanian Families forums but I thought I'd stick them here as well to make up for my appalling lack of blogging activity. I've really neglected this blog this year, and I really want to get it up and updating on a more regular basis. I've decided to try to update at least once a week from now on.

I love how well the leash and dog fits scale-wise with Sylvanians. I wish Re-Ment still made flocked animals *sigh*. All of their recent ones have been carved, solid plastic. I think the fuzziness of the flocked creatures makes them extra cute!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

WIP items and stuff

European Grandma Re-Ment

I finally photographed some of my RE-Ment. (FYI: RE-Ment is a brand of Japanese mass produced miniatures, so I didn't make these!) I originally took this for the local country show but at the last minute decided not to enter. I didn't think it was good enough to be worth the effort and cost of entering, then paying to go into the show grounds and waiting till the end of the show to collect the photo. So pic goes on Flickr and this blog. It's been a while since I just photographed random toys and it was really quite enjoyable. I really need to start photographing more toys again; set ups are such fun!

This is another thing I was going to enter in the show but didn't.

WIP- biscuits and cakes

It was going to be an orange themed tea setting. I was rushing to finish it because the deadline for the show entries was much earlier than I expected, but in the end decided not to enter for the reason above, and also the fact that finishing it on time was stressing me out (I'm not good at making clay items fast) and I had more important things I needed to finish (teaching materials prep).

The yellow cake is supposed to be an orange cheesecake, and the yellow didn't come out as deep as I wanted unfortunately. Maybe it'll be better as a lemon cheesecake? There are also white spots on it; I think they may be air bubbles. :( I made another one before this which has an orange top but I really don't like it.

I plan give the round biscuits and that pile of orange slices a 'dipped in chocolate' look. Right not I'm undecided whether to use acrylic paint or to use liquid clay. The star biscuits will either get a chocolate chip in the middle or something red. Maybe a nut instead? See first la.

I wanted to give those cupcakes a swirl of icing on the top and decided to try the air dry clay + PVA glue trick I found on Atelier Dolie. It didn't work so well for me. Once I think I added too much water and the piped icing wouldn't hold its shape and sank down into a shapeless blob. Next time I tried with less water and it just wouldn't come out of my icing tip. I think that this technique might be more suited to the larger tips used in Sweets Deco than my tiny PME 42C tip.

If anyone has any tips on what to use for piping cream, please let me know. Right now I'm just going to go back to using Josonja's Texture Paste until I can find a better alternative. Tiff of One Dessert Please recommends using Mont Marte Modelling Paste, and I'm going to see if I can find it locally. Hopefully it's a more brilliant white than the off white of my current paste.

I must talk about the little cat shaped cookies in the pic. I used this paper punch for the shape.

I'm going to have to put a piece of tape over it because the black ink smudges. :( I first saw that punch on Snowfern's blog and immediately fell in love. I mean, what's there not to love--it's a cat with a giant head! Sooooo cuteeee!!! I didn't have much hope of finding it, especially living where I do and I had never seen it on ebay.

I found it on Etsy. I wubs my kitty cat punch <3 Now if I can find the others in this series...the stars and the bunny are too adorable...

I think I've become totally addicted to mini paper punches.

I made this gingerbread house a while back, but never got around to decorating it.

WIP- Gingerbread house

Now I've picked it up again and I'm still wondering what to put on there. Maybe I'll make it orange themed like everything else I have haha. And the pieces on the side is the chimney. I was rolling it between my fingers and trying to decide how to decorate it when it fell to pieces. Guess cheap superglue is not necessarily the best thing to be using. :P

Oh yeah, I got the plans for the house from Pine Studio, which has many great tutorials. Next time, I'll make my own plans. I like to link to my tutorial sources, I hope it's useful to others reading this blog. :)

Friday, 5 August 2011

Cakes and cupcakes

I actually made these about two weeks ago but haven't been able to get good pictures. I still haven't but I'm kinda fed up now so I'm just sticking with these pictures.


A chocolate cake with strawberries and whipped cream and a black forest cake. I'm not happy with the strawberries, I think they don't look realistic enough. Another problem I'm having is with the piped cream bits on the black forest cake. I used acrylic texture paste as I felt that liquid polymer clay was too sticky and while the texture paste held the piped cream shape wonderfully the colour was wrong. I used liquid clay to ice the rest of the cake and the piped cream bits are more of an off white. I'm going to try a trick I learned from another blog with some air dry clay and pva glue next, so we'll see how it goes. I've tried piping with this air dry clay before but only used water and it wouldn't stick to anything! I'm hoping that glue trick will work.

Another thing that bothers me is the cherries. They don't look real at all to me, and I think that partly that has to do with how round they are :P I'll put some indentations next time where the stalks are supposed to go. I bet that'll also help with the whole tiny balls rolling off and everywhere when I tried to get them in the oven.

I also made cupcakes for the first time.

First cupcakes

I need to find something that will make a cupcake mold with those indentations to emulate cupcake cases. I used the end of a sushi soy sauce bottle, those cute ones that are shaped like fish. It was the only thing I had that satisfied me size wise. I also need more piping practice, I can't tell you how many times I wiped off the icing from those things! Or how much texture paste I wasted.I also ended up smearing texture paste all over the cupcake in the process btw.

Also, I took this pic for this thread:

Happy Anniversary

Friday, 15 July 2011

Orange treats and more resin updates

Mmm, orange treats for me!

: Ooo, the desserts Bronte is making for the book club meet. Well, she has her back turned and I'm sure she won't miss a teeny little bite!

Orange baking

Bronte: I can hear you.

I haven't taken photos of my toys for such a long time. It feel great to set up a scene and take pictures of my Sylvanians again! I thought I'd use some of the new things I'd made too.

Here's a clearer picture:

Orange goodies

I had been experimenting with orange canes so most of the things I've made recently have been orange themed. :P

The items in the top row are Valencian orange tarts, bottom left is an orange polenta cake drizzled with syrup and some kind of orange pudding.

I used resin for the syrup and it leaked down the cake and pudding enough to glue them to the tile I had. I managed to pull them off, luckily. Next time I'll try using gallery glass type paint. I'm not really pleased with the orange polenta cake, it looked far more pretty in my head!

Plates are Re-Ment and Megahouse.

Now, on to some resin updates:

The batch I was waiting for in the last update ended up being extremely disappointing. I did not mix the resin as thoroughly as it needed and my jam jars came out sticky and squishy. The top even came off of one when I was pulling it out of the mold. Also, some of the bottles came out deformed again.


I made up another batch and all save for one jar had some kind of major deformity. Ugh. Plus the colour was too light for strawberry jam.


This is the one perfect jar. Well, it looks lopsided in the picture, but it isn't, really.


I am slowly building up a nice collection of deformed jam jars.


Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Orange tarts, post office stuff, etc

I thought I'd update the blog with what I've been doing lately. My original plan was to successfully complete my projects before updating (or nearly complete) but that just seems to have left the blog a bit dead. I should start taking more toy photos too...

I've been playing around with making orange canes lately. Very basic cane, and the first thing I ever tried to cane. I was following Angie Scarr's method but I didn't like the sharp edges that it would give. I used Zuleykha's tutorial to achieve that more rounded edge.


The left was my first attempt, unfortunately it ended up looking like the slices came from an unripe orange. Too much rind. That'll teach me for thinking that a thicker rind would look better! My second attempt is on the right.

I decided to make some Valencian orange tarts with the slices. I needed to use them for something, and those tarts looked like they would use up lots of oranges! (Especially the cane I didn't like)

Valencian orange tarts

I am still having trouble with making tart bases that I am satisfied with. These don't really look all that realistic to me.

After putting it off for so long (because for some reason I am afraid of starting strange and new things), I've finally made a shelf and noticeboard for my Sylvanian post office. I made the shelf out of balsa wood. It's the first time I've ever worked with wood, and I'm quite pleased with the attempt! Balsa wood may be really soft and not really the best thing to be making furniture out off, but it was easy to cut. :P The noticeboard is made of matchsticks, some cork paper peeled off the back of a painted tile I found at a jumble sale and a bit of card stock. I am actually quite pleased with the results! Asides from the accidental glue stains caused by gluing shelf parts backwards and general carelessness that is.

Shelf and notice board

I've also finally come up with some resin molds that I am reasonable satisfied with. It doesn't look it but it took a long time to make this mold! I'll do a full update once the jars have been cured.


My circular Kemper cutters arrived yesterday!


I'm so happy. I finally broke down and ordered them because my own crappy homemade cutters just didn't cut it (haw haw). I ordered some from Prairie Craft as all the sources I found for them in Australia have been quite expensive.