Animals

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FIBER OPTICS: I was the one who posted about making fireflies from fiber optics. Guess what?? By George, I think I've got it!! I have been planning this project for three years and have been collecting stuff for it ever since. I found the reel of fiber optics from the Dees catalog a few years back. They should still have it available. I bought a small night light with the regular 110 plug on it. I made a plastic disk and mounted it on top of a clock mechanism that I found inside an old alarm clock. I painted the disk with yellow glass stain(several coats) and black acrylic paint in a pie pattern. The fiber optics strands absorb the light from the bulb and the disk as it spins makes them light up intermittently since I have some spaces yellow and the others are blacked out! The fibers are hidden by the trees and other foliage. The mechanism is hidden behind my mountain. Looks good so far.

Pearl Jordan


Felt Animals: Mary Hoot http://www.maryhoot.com makes wonderful rabbits, cats, and other animals painted on cloth (velveteen maybe?).

Emily in MD


Felt Rabbits: Is it possible they rabbits aren't felt but velvet -- Mary Hoot does wonderful painted animals on velvet. She has been in minis for many years. I thought she wasn't in the business anymore, but last year I found her things thru a dealer, Wild Orchid. She has a website, http://www.maryhoot.com/index.htm -- you can go check it out and see if the animals look like hers.

Fay in St. Louis


Tins for cake pans: Want some cheap tin type pans for cakes- Look at your Big Lots, Dollar type store & discount drug stores for those multi pack eye & blush makeup compacts. The shadow and blush generally come in little tins that are glued to the compact. I just picked up an eye makeup compact with 12 colors/tins for .99. The tricky part is popping them out without too much damage to the tin. I use a flat spatula type blade for clay carving to get them out and then take my needle nose pliers and bend back into shape any dents I made. Chip out the eye shadow/blush and you have a tin to add poly clay to for your cake. Keep the shadow for adding specks of color to paints, clay and such. Also the empty compact can be used for storing small items like beads and such.

Try using the tins for molds/cutters with rolled out clay to make bases, shelves, books and more.

Maybe if you know someone who works at a cosmetic store or counter you can have them save the empty compacts they use for samples and then you could get them for free!

Kerrie KMC-Minis


FIREFLIES: I have simulated fireflies mechanically with fiber optics and electronically with bulbs AND with fiber optics. Frankly, I liked the mechanical system best. Here goes. I built an opaque drum (cylinder) out of aluminum (shiny side in) and powered it to be turned by a 4 RPM appliance motor. ATTENTION EVERYBODY!! Rescue timer motors from all and any abandoned laundry machines! These are the geared can motors that advance your timer switches. Hidden, they run on 110Volt (USA) and can be used for ceiling fans, electric model trains, revolving Christmas trees, and lightening bugs among other mini projects.

The drum is turned by the timer motor at one end and has a 6 watt clear light bulb inserted from other end. Rig a fire proof light block to keep most light inside except for flash slits to be covered shortly.

I softened thin brass tubing by heating to cherry red on the stove then quenching in cold water. Insert fiber optic strands into the brass tubeand guide from where you want your "bugs" to flash (pointing toward viewers) and the other end secured to point directly at the outside of the drum. Now for the magic. Cut a long thin slit in the drum exactly where the ends of fibers are pointing at it. Mark where first then take your drum out and lay it over a work surface to cut the slit. Ideally, The light should suddenly "Flash" directly into the fiber optic tube then the slit should turn away at a very slight angle so that the amount of light kind of "fades" just like the butt on a real fire fly. Several different slits to different fibers or several different fiber tubes at the same slit along differing parts of the revolution give you multiples. Three seems to be about the maximum number of fire flies in a single setting. Four or more tends to over do it (IMHO).

For reasonable brevity, I haven't pointed out all the little details but hope this will get you started. If you have specific questions or need for more explicit explanation, feel free to e-mail direct.

Mel K in LasVegas


Miniature Horses: I've just discovered the most fascinating miniature enthusiast sub-specialty! Recently I've had a few purchases from miniature horse sculptors and collectors who want to display my little carpets with their model Arabians. There are folks who make costumes and props for the model horses, and there's even an auction site just for them at http://www.modelhorseauction.com

If you're interested in finding out more about the miniature horse hobby, you might want to take a look at the American Model Arabian Horse Association web site, http://www.amaha.itgo.com Although many Small Stuff subscribers seem to come from a background of interest in houses and dolls, and many model horse enthusiast seem to come from a background of owning and breeding real live horses, it looks like the two groups may actually have a lot in common.

JoLynne


Stable: For your stable you will need water buckets, baled hay and feed sacks, though my neighbor keeps her feed in metal garbage cans to defeat mice. Two types of tack box. A large one that usually looks like a plain wooden trunk with a lid that lifts. These often are parked outside a stall. Some people keep all the tack inside them, but some will hang a saddle on a wooden rack on the wall of a separate room. Bridles will be hung on wall hooks. A saddle blanket lying on the tack box could add some nice color. There is also a small tack box like an open tool box with a handle across the top. This will contain a hoof pick, brushes, liniment, a pulling comb for tails and manes. You might want to set up cross ties, which are simply two lead ropes that attach opposite each other on the walls of the open 'hall' between stalls. This is used to restrain a horse for saddling or a visit from the blacksmith. No stable is complete without a barn cat or two. You could have barn boots, too, but be sure they're NOT clean :). You could include a long whip used for lunging- which is just holding a rope and using the whip to encourage the horse to trot in a circle around you for exercise. Well, hope this helps.

Linda in Leroy,


Birds: I have macaws and parrots on my website http://www.spminiatures.com/birds.htm  and crows and if the person needs other birds such as crows, I have some at http://www.spminiatures.com/smallanim.htm     I can also get birds such as cardinals, robins etc but those will have to be ordered.

Carol


Dollhouse Mouse: "where do I get or how do I make a mouse that stands on two legs and wears a Tutu?"

Since your daughter is 5, she probably wants the mouse from her book. How about a stuffed mouse?

Get a piece of tracing paper and use a pencil from a sewing shop that will transfer using an iron. (If you can't find this use a sharpened crayon.) Trace the mouse face she knows from the book and use this as an iron-on to a piece of pale, Angelina colored fabric. (Allow for seams.)

You should use the side of the face and do this for each side. Trace the body, straight on, like a gingerbread man, stitch and stuff. When you do the head, you can embroider the features with colored thread, and add bead eyes. Add the ears, tail and tutu and you will have a doll your daughter will cherish, mostly because you made it for her.

Laurie Sisson


Bees: I've made some this way. I layered extremely thin layers, I mean paper thin, of black and yellow polymer clay, maybe 6 layers all together. Then, using a thin metal tube, first dipped in baby powder, I cookie cuttered (Wanna?) out a cylinder from the layers, I rolled it slightly between my fingers to round the ends. I cut the wings out of cellophane, the kind I used was iridescent, although I'm sure clear would be fine. I made a tiny dent in each bee's back and inserted the wings with the smallest dot of tacky glue. I made feelers from a single strand of silk thread stiffened with Elmer's glue, and inserted them into the 'head'. Then I baked them for just a couple of minutes in a toaster oven preheated to 275 degrees. And there they were...bees! Do you know what a bee flying in reverse sounds like? Zzzzub, zzzzub! lol

Alice Zinn


Graduation Dog: Today, I was working making heads for polar bears rugs and had a little piece of white Sculpey left over. I needed a bit of a break, and the clay 'spoke' to me, and I made a cute mini autograph dog with a graduation hat. You can see pictures to illustrate the instructions below in my Assorted Miniatures album on Webshots http://community.webshots.com/user/iamazin.

Let me start by saying you can leave off his cap and add a bow at the neck to use him for a Sweet 16 girl, or other event! The parts are pictured on the web page. Here are the directions.

After making all your parts from polymer clay, attach them together by rolling the 'seams' back and forth using a nice smooth, round toothpick or the handle of a paintbrush. When adding the head to the body, create a 'neck' by shaping the clay in that area with your tool. After you add each leg, turn the end forward slightly to form a paw. Make two vertical dents in the paw part with the toothpick to make the dogs 'toes'. If you are making the graduation version, squish a tiny ball of black clay onto the top of the head, then make sure the top of that is flat.

Bake at 275 degrees for about 10 minutes. Let cool.

Using black paint or marker, paint on two dots for eyes, a nose and a smiling mouth as in the photo. Center and glue the black paper square to the black clay base on the dog's head.

Make the tassel as shown in the picture, using a piece of silk or embroidery thread. Tie a knot in the middle of a short length of thread, then cut most of the strands off on one side of the knot. Trim to the length you want and glue to the hat, the tassel side hanging down and add a tiny black bead or drop of dimensional paint at the center top of the hat.

Using the finest point marker you can, sign your dog! You can add other names as well, or have fun letting your friends sign it! Please feel free to share this project with your miniatures friends or clubs. You can download and or print the photos from my Webshots album. All I ask is that you do NOT make them to sell.

Alice Zinn- Pt. St. Lucie FL


Barn/Stable: For those interested in a making a barn. I have a copy of "Stable of Champions" which tells how to make a stable and about any accessory you can think of. This was published by the Nutshell News publisher so maybe you could check with them about a copy.

Irene


Small feathers; Feathers can be trimmed. Find a fresh kill chicken market or chicken farm.   Collect the small loose feathers (like the ones that come out of the winter coat) and with a scissors, trim them to size.

Dr Bob


Feathers: If you get a parakeet or a canary, you will have all the feathers you will ever need, all sizes and colors trust me I know:-)

Linda from Maine


Butterflies: I have used fine wire twisted in shapes and dipped in Sobo glue mixed with a small amount of paint for color and made butterflies...thanks to a sis-in-law from MI. I believe there was an article on this in DIM magazine sometime last year. This dries like a very thin layer of latex or plastic.

Kfurqueron


Miniature Carriages and Wagons: You must check out BD's Saddlery and Wagon shop! Expect to pay about $200.00 for a vehicle, but in the model horse hobby, he is the absolute best! You won't find anything as accurate or beautiful anywhere else. Mr. Duncan has many nice examples on his website, or will make anything you like. He offers custom paint, wheels, etc. Turnaround time is usually less than a month. Be sure to tell him you want a vehicle in "Breyer Classic Scale." That is the size of the second smallest Breyer model horses, which is 1/12 in dollhouses. Also be sure of what your scene is going to be. Back then, folks of higher incomes would have more than one carriage. Fancier ones would be used for driving to church or attending a dinner party, the other less-elaborate vehicle would be for running errands. Let Mr. Duncan know what you are trying to replicate in your scene, and he'll tell you the appropriate vehicle and colors. Address is http://home.earthlink.net/~rduncan0291/index.html

Cindy


Miniature Carriages and Wagons: You must check out BD's Saddlery and Wagon shop! Expect to pay about $200.00 for a vehicle, but in the model horse hobby, he is the absolute best! You won't find anything as accurate or beautiful anywhere else. Mr. Duncan has many nice examples on his website, or will make anything you like. He offers custom paint, wheels, etc. Turnaround time is usually less than a month. Be sure to tell him you want a vehicle in "Breyer Classic Scale." That is the size of the second smallest Breyer model horses, which is 1/12 in dollhouses. Also be sure of what your scene is going to be. Back then, folks of higher incomes would have more than one carriage. Fancier ones would be used for driving to church or attending a dinner party, the other less-elaborate vehicle would be for running errands. Let Mr. Duncan know what you are trying to replicate in your scene, and he'll tell you the appropriate vehicle and colors. Address is http://home.earthlink.net/~rduncan0291/index.html

Cindy


Also a bit of news for the animal lovers. Talked to Liz McInnis the other day and she will be doing her first show in years at Chicago Int this year!...and I do mean years. You can see some of her animals in my "rooms in my collection" or Artists section where I share some great pictures of what I consider to be terrific artists. I have a Borzoi(Russian wolfhound)   Sled dog, schnauzer, by precious bengals Bubba and Sissy done by her and a white kitty. These are some of my most treasured things. Especially my Bengal portrait kitties as I have lost both so they are precious memories.

Anita McNary-Haynes


Lovely Tiny animals: Please check out this website.... http://www.underthehedgerow.co m/

I just got my mail and in it was a package from Louisa Rael...I recently won 4 bids on e-bay of little animals by Louisa. These animals are beautiful...Words can't explain how exquisite the animals are...One is a hedgehog sleeping in the hat part of an acorn shell...One is a mouse sleeping in a pistachio shell...I have a Christmas mouse sitting and I also got a bunny that is carrying a blanket and yawning....The bunny is the biggest at under an inch tall...The sitting mouse is about 1/2 inch tall and the sleeping mouse and hedgehog are even smaller...I wish I had bid on the rest of her animals but I wasn't sure of her work...

Pam


144 wooden furniture: I don't want to bore you to death and know many are not interested in 144 scale but you may enjoy looking at my new 144 wooden furniture, I have just finished a fainting couch that can fit along with an end table on a penny. Also there is a neat baby crib. These are terrific as toys in any scale inc as doll furniture in 1/4 scale. Crazy? yup probably but I love doing these bitty furniture pieces!

Also a bit of news for the animal lovers. Talked to Liz McInnis the other day and she will be doing her first show in years at Chicago Int this year!...and I do mean years. You can see some of her animals in my "rooms in my collection" or Artists section where I share some great pictures of what I consider to be terrific artists. I have a Borzoi(Russian wolfhound)   Sled dog, schnauzer, by precious bengals Bubba and Sissy done by her and a white kitty. These are some of my most treasured things. Especially my Bengal portrait kitties as I have lost both so they are precious memories.

Anita McNary-Haynes


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