Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Bootsy, our newly adopted kitty!

This is Bootsy! We adopted her a couple days ago. She was hiding in the cat pen at the shelter amongst all the short-hairs. My mom took one look at her smashed face and it was all over. She HAD to come home with us.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Re-Ment

They're playscale, they're plastic, and they're highly addictive. They triggered my collecting and hoarding instincts something fierce. Am I alone in this? About six years ago, I discovered Re-Ment, a Japanese company that makes these highly collectible miniature sets- food, furniture, accessories, etc. I only bought food, and I limited myself to the traditional Japanese food and product sets, which is all I wanted anyway. I didn't want them by the piece (or box). I had to have the ENTIRE set (usually about 10 boxes). So, I started collecting them and went a "little" nuts. I kept telling  myself that it was for "research"...that I was "celebrating part of my heritage", haha!! But it became a problem, like Japanese heroin or something...so I had to quit cold turkey. I had to bar myself from visting any site that might have them for sale. If I was on ebay and happened to come across any of it, I quickly clicked away.

But damn. I was shopping on a website last week and spotted a dried fish set.  I am proud to say that I did not go ape shit and buy the entire set. I got just the ONE box! From now on, if I buy any, it'll be single boxes, like the dried fish set below. I must admit, it does bother me a little that, among others, I don't have this one though: http://www.re-ment.co.jp/products/susimeguri/index.html


Real (bizarre) cakes

My mom sent me these pics of real cakes. I'm not sure I could bring myself to chow down on a piece of that kitty litter cake, complete with turd!



 












Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fish pie weirdness

I like making weird pies. In fact, I don't really enjoy making them unless they're weird. Nothing wrong with a good old fruit pie, but really, show me something new! A few years ago, a customer asked me to make the weirdest (real) pie I'd ever heard of: a Stargazey pie, with real fish heads sticking out, their bodies baked into the shell. Oooh, I was going to relish this! I looked up some pics and did a little research, then set to work. I had been making strange pies before this, but this was pretty over the top! Since then, I've gotten alot of requests for Stargazeys, and I've enjoyed making every single one, adding a bit of variation . This simple fish pie, like the one below, is another one that I don't mind making more than once or twice....but that may be because I just like making fish, period. Would I want to eat it? Probably not, because the combo of pastry and fish I find a bit.... revolting :-p


Gorgeous (real) mushrooms

I thought I'd share this stunning photo of real, wild mushrooms that has been sitting on my hard drive for eons. Real pics (if we can't have the actual thing sitting in front of us), as we know, are the best things to take inspiration from :-). I love how natural they look- NOT perfect, which is much more realistic. It is sometimes the little "flaws" that make some miniatures more lifelike, for me. This is probably why I am more drawn to "messy" scenes as opposed to sterile, "not a hair out of place" ones. Maybe messy is the wrong word :-/. But sometimes the perfection leaves me cold. I want to see "life" in them. In the case of mushrooms, the nicks and the dirt and the mishappeness (and these are in pretty good conidtion, considering)!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Persimmons....in a basket with fern

We had a couple Persimmons in the house so I put them in front of me and made some. I wanted to make sure the leaves looked like they were kind of curling and going brown, which they were. The leaves were a bit of a pain in the arse. I left these loose, not glued down, so they don't have to stay in the basket....with fern ;-).


Monday, October 26, 2009

White Nectarines....once again.

Plus miniature preserved fern and mom's basket. I keep walking into markets and seeing big piles of white nectarines. I sometimes wonder if the fern and basket thing has become my "signature"!?? Sometimes I want to put something in a simple bowl. Sometimes I want to put something in a basket without the fern. But NO!! Once again ,they go in a basket with the fern. My mom thinks my fruit looks better that way. Oy. Several years ago, I bought some real preserved miniature fern that was (I was told) only grown in ONE spot on some mountain in the the U.S., ONCE a year.  I bought it and I LOVED it! It never dried out, and it was gorgeous. The seller ran out for several years (a mini nightmare) until I emailed her and offered to give her one of my embryos for a little fern (if she could scrape some together). Magically, a big old bag of it appeared in my mailbox...for free (from her private stash)!! I was thrilled, so I made something special and mailed it to her. So, long story short, this is the reason for the proliferation of baskets with fern :-D.

Poke bowl

I am about to tuck into this Poke bowl! Poke, in Hawaii, is seasoned pieces of raw fish (in this case, Ahi). This one has rice on the bottom and seasoned seaweed on top. The pic below was yesterday's takeout- a poke and sushi combo.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Oh, hello???

I just went to Cindy's blog and she posted a link to more fabulosity. Once again, those damned Mandarin oranges!! What is UP?? I wish my Japanese Grandma were still alive so I could plunk her down in front of rhe computer...and not let her leave until she translated the entire site :-/

http://home.s02.itscom.net/yoyo/yoyomenu.html


Chanterelle shrooms


Kristy's charming menagerie



I fell in love the first time I laid eyes on Kristy's utterly adorable critters!  I don't know how she parts with them, because I would have a very difficult time giving them up. They would be all over my room, where I could look at them all day.  Here's a sampling of some of her work and links to more:

Flickr

Website




 

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Raw oysters

As much as I love raw seafood, I still can't bring myself to choke down raw oysters :-S.  I've tried doctoring them up with lemon and cocktail sauce, I've tried eating them au naturel, I've tried chewing, I've tried letting them slide down my throat and chasing it with beer...but alas, it still makes me think of elephant boogers. But FRIED oysters or oyster stew? YUM!!


Friday, October 23, 2009

A basket of Walleyed Pike

Fish is one of my favorite things to make, and EAT! I don't think I've ever had this one, but I eat salmon, mackerel, and ahi  at least three times a week. This is a freshwater fish.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Museums with miniatures

There are several museums housing large collections of miniatures in the U.S. that I'd love to visit someday.

One of them is the Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago: http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/search/citi/category%3A18

The Kaye Browning Miniatures Collection at the Kentucky Gateway Museum: http://www.kygmc.org/miniatureExhibits/
There are a number of my pieces, as well as many from miniaturists friends, on display. She has a world class collection and I'd love to ogle it all!

The Masters of Miniature collection at the Naples Museum of Art in Florida: http://www.thephil.org/museum/museum_collections/sculpture_3D.html#Miniatures


There is this one in Canada too: http://www.miniatureworld.com/

Moldy bread and a mouse

This is something I made late last night, as my right eye got more and more irritated. I think I got some chalk dust in it, because I woke up this morning to a big red lump in the lower rim of my eye. Eeew!! Well,  I did want to wear an eye patch for Halloween ;-).



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pears, possibly my favorite fruit.


Sal's collection

Sally Wallace builds fantastic miniature structures and her collection is phenomenal! I've made some things for her in the past, like the produce below (she wanted some freaky looking ones, hence the outsized mushrooms and horned pumpkins, etc.). Take a look at her work- I love it all! Look at the stairs at Hogwart's!!

http://salssite.com/projects.htm



Monday, October 19, 2009

Graters


Sara, here is a crap pic I just shot to show you the graters I use. Really basic stuff, the kind you can pick up at Walmart or something. The one in the foreground, though, I bought for .99 cents at a Japanese food store (I believe they use it to shave wasabi and radish or something), and it gives me a pretty fine powder. The others produce bigger, grainier pieces (can you see the clumped up clay on parts of he graters? LOL!). I go into kitchen shops whenever I see them, and they have some gorgeous yet costlier graters and planers. I've nearly broken down and bought some on occassion, but I always change my mind in the end because I think the ones I have serve my purposes enough :-).


Won Park: Origami Master

This crab and toilet (another cool toilet!) he folded are made out of  single dollar bills! I can't do origami to save my life. It's too uhh....mathematical for me or something. The only thing I've done successfully is fold a dinner napkin into a Bird of Paradise, like they do in restaurants :-/. Here are more of his creations:  http://thedesigninspiration.com/articles/won-park-the-master-of-origami-paper-folding/


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Kathy Obrenski update

News of Kathy Obrenski, IGMA Artisan (could have easily have made Fellow YEARS ago) is something I get asked about now and then. Recently, Linda C.asked me about her, and I had no real news to share. Well, this is WEIRD, because she called us at home today! For those who aren't aware, she suffered a major stroke a few years ago, and had to relearn how to do so many things (speech, writing, you name it). This was a woman whom I had admired for years....way before I picked up a lump of clay. Instinctively, my first thought was: what about her miniatures???? I used to see her work every week on ebay, and I'd sit there, scratching my head, thinking: how is this even possible??? Her cakes remain some of the most beautiful I have ever seen (which is no surprise...this woman was DEDICATED! She practically lived in her studio and pored over her massive collection of cookbooks and videos for hours on end, spending thousands of hours perfecting her craft). Over time, as I started making my own miniatures, she contacted me and asked: why are you not an igma artisan yet???  I said: uhh....Kathy, most of my stuff is too weird. Although our styles couldn't be MORE different, she has always encouraged me, and even sent me many materials and shared some of her secret techniques. Case in point which springs to my mind: Kiva, don't etch lines in your coconuts! Roll those suckers in real, shredded coconut husk! A few days later, a package of coconut husk was waiting for me at the post office. The list goes on....

She had a big following, and was well known for her amazing skill. This was all before the stroke...which threatened to erase all trace of who she was before. But, by sheer force of will, and I imagine, that unfailing innate talent, she has persevered. She has been making food again, and is very interested in branching out and making flowers. She's also going to be in the big Chicago show! Also, she is going to have some kind of voice activated machine hooked up to her computer, which will enable her to get online again. Her voice on the phone was SO excited, she was practically screaming! Yup, I think Kathy is coming back, full force ;-).

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A shout out to Grace

This is for Grace, who is wonderfully macabre, and makes some damned fine miniatures (her specimen jars are fab)....AND provides me with sets of real bones! I usually make my own bones, but really, there is no substitute for the real thing- and hers are perfectly 1:12 scale! She's been making some great books lately, too!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/graceewhite/-


This is what I made with the skull that she sent me. Ok, well, I told my mom what I wanted to do with it and since she works with wood and stuff, I had her mount it so it looks like a prehistoric fossil display:


Valentines Day...

I was asked to make something for the January/February issue of Dollhouse Miniatures mag. I usually ignore the "themes" and instead make something "different"...apart from the typical seasonal stuff. But they give me alot of freedom to make what I want, which is great. Well, when I think of Valentine's Day, I think of sweets and frou frou. I don't make frou frou! I thought of making heart cookies that were cracked down the middle (like a broken heart), or heart tarts broken down the middle and "bleeding". Maybe a partly empty box of chocloates with bites taken out of them (you know what I mean- the ones you bite into that you discover are gross? For me, it's fruit filled, especially the kind that oozes out and you suddenly feel like your eating cough syrup!)?? Boring. Plus, I just made a shitload of desserts for Halloween, and I'm done. I don't know, but nothing appealed to me at all :-/.  So, while I was nearly slipping into my afternoon coma, I thought I'd do a human heart like the one I made recently. Valentine's Day = Hearts, right? It may not be what one associates with Valentine's, but it is the only thing I can get into making right now :-/.

An award!

I'd like to thank Karin at http://kc-design-kc.blogspot.com/ for this lovely award, especially since I am brand spanking new to the blogosphere. Because of this, I just spent hours visiting blog after wonderful blog...and it was a herculean task to narrow it down to 10! I wish I could have seen much, much more, but my eyes are at half-mast.



First, the rules:

1) Display the image and publish the rules.
2) Post the link of who won the prize.
3) Give ten blogs dream to which award the prize.
4) Notice blogs listed.


- Here are my picks:

http://dollshouse-art.blogspot.com/  - Because I love marveling at exquisite, tiny paintings
http://nell-miniminis.blogspot.com/  - Because I adore uber tiny!
http://snowfern.com/ -  Because I have gotten to know her and she is one funny chick...and she is as obsessed as they come.
http://mike-rowe.blogspot.com/  - Excellent woodturner
http://woopitydooart.blogspot.com/  - Always loved Pat's work
http://turningsinminiature.blogspot.com/  - Tom, not just my friend, but truly multi-talented
http://thecartbeforethehorse.blogspot.com/  - Love!
http://trolineke.blogspot.com/ -  Love the characters and the world they inhabit
http://escenasliterarias.blogspot.com -  I had no clue what was being said, but it was a feast for the eyes. I just kept clicking!

Friday, October 16, 2009

The awesomeness

Lurv her work! Great sense of humor!! Click!

flickr

etsy

Chow Mein and beer

This is takeout, "local style" Chow Mein and a "jumbo" sized Singha beer to wash it all down. My daddy always ordered Singha or Tsing Tao beer whenever we went out for Chinese. The embarassing thing is, he pronounced it...or tried to, like a person from China (and he was a big, strapping Caucasian from upstate New York). I wanted to crawl under the table!



Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thanks alot, Cindy!

While I should have been working, I got sidetracked, thanks to Cindy, and took another mini tour of some Asian miniaturist's sites...just a couple though! The first site was http://www.h6.dion.ne.jp/~home_w/indexGalleryHyoushiBack.html, but I like the next one better, particularly the bread and plants (especially the cacti):  http://milkymocaskitchen.kt.fc2.com/dollsecondtop.htm. 



 

 



 A

A few Harry Potter things

I must have been one of the last people on earth to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but someone was nice enough to erm....share it with me, so I finally got to see it! It inspired me to make a few things. Only a few- I won't go hog wild like I usually do once I set my mind on something ;-). I didn't have a "proper" amber beer bottle (horrors! Time to shop!!), so I used this somewhat oversized wine bottle for the beer. I was just going to put some in a glass pitcher, but I wanted that label on there.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fairy toilet

Someone made me a contact tonight on Flickr, so I went to have a look at their photostream. Lo and behold, it's a fairy toilet! They make a wide range of fairy furnishings, but I was so tickled by this one. Love it! Here's the linkage:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/40619703@N07/


Grilled cheese sandwiches for Sara

Here you go, Sara! This is what the finished sandwich would look like, same idea as the quesadillas. Clearly, it's Cheddar, not American ;-).




Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mike Rowe, fabulous woodturner and maker of other beautimous creations

Speaking of woodturners, I was stunned to discover this collection of amazing guns from the artisan Mike Rowe! His pieces are outstanding. I love his checkerboard inlay work and his pipes with stand, among many others. I have such admiration for artist's whose work looks like it belongs in a museum.....yet is SO tiny!! If anything, it takes much MORE skill to miniaturize, as opposed to making  them "human sized"! Here is an example of his work, with a link to his Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mike_rowe/






Thomas Saunders, my good buddy and ace wood turner!

These are pieces I have in my stash from my friend Thomas Saunders, a fabulous wood turner (among other things)! Every time I use a piece of his for my food and sell it, I die a little bit inside because I am so attached to them! But my customers are more than willing to pay extra for having his work included, because it truly elevates the food to a whole new level. His craftsmanship is flawless. I was thrilled that he made me some Tudor trenchers to "play with", and a standing ashtray made of marble and wood, which I will, most likely, NEVER part with (not shown). You can see more of his work here:

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6056208


Monday, October 12, 2009

Holy ^%*#!!

Ok, I have always said that I've stumbled upon some of the most realistic miniature food when mindlessly surfing Asian miniaturist's sites. Sometimes, their  attention to detail is INSANE. This is no exception. Take a look at these oranges pieces. The lemon is great too, but the orange...GAH!! You can check out her site here: http://www.nn.iij4u.or.jp/~shin98/

- There isn't a ton of food, but what's there is really good. click on the miniatures section on the left. I mean, that's it- I'm packing it in.


Now THIS is a collector!!

I mentioned earlier about hoarding stuff. Well, move over- this woman is insane! And I thought I had alot of kitchen/food related stuff!

http://teresaminis.com/

Some of my favorite tools


These are some of my most used tools. One of the things not pictured is resin, of course ;-). I have every possible color of liquid resin dye, but have found something just as handy but much less messy: : powder dyes (the little jars pictured). I just add a tiny bit and mix. Other things pictures are my tweezers, toothpicks, clear  tacky gel glue, Liquid Fimo, my beloved Kemper needle tool, chalk, tin foil, and clear epoxy from the hardware store (when I need something stronger than tacky glue), and baby powder which I dust on my tile and acrylic roller so nothing sticks. The second pic shows my ball styluses, different grades of sandpaper, Scenic Water (only for some sealed containers), the ubiquitous straight razor, and my Dremel. I've gone through two mini sized Dremels in the past and they were horrible (not enough power), so I got a regular sized one with the little attachment shown in the pic.








Saturday, October 10, 2009

Last one!

I think that I'm enjoying this blogging thing much more than I thought I would. In fact, I think I'm posting too much :-/.

I keep saying that I am done making Halloweeny things, but this time I really mean it. It's weird, but in the past, all I made was maybe some pumpkins, that's it! For some reason, this year, I went a little buck wild. This is a basket of orange and "black" Heirloom tomatoes.


Part of my stash

I know that I am not the only hoarder out there. I have about 4 of these filled to the limit...and yet I keep buying more!! HELP!


Clay mountain

Ok, everyone who sees my biggest clay drawer is aghast. Can you see why? This is just one part of the clay heap that is in my drawer! I just open it, pinch off the colors I want, then get to work. The problem is, it just keeps growing. I have rid myself of a mountain or two in the past when I couldn't stand it any longer!


There is a toe on my left hand!!!

Does anyone else have massive calluses on their hand(s)?? I have had what looks like a toe, substituting for my left thumb, for years now. It is because of all the kneading. I wonder if it would ever go back to normal if I stopped claying ? Here's a shot of my thumb and the calluses on both fingers.