I know that I have a lot of hobbies. I don't have the time or energy to work on all of them, so I usually pursue one single-mindedly while the others languish, and then I move on. Hobbies that have received my laser-focus include knitting, baking, insect collecting, photography, embroidery, writing, learning a foreign language, studying a specific period in history, puzzles, quilting, woodworking, bird watching, gardening, exercise, card-making, kayaking...the list goes on and on. Some things overlap...I always have a puzzle going, a knitting project on the needles, and a book or two that I'm mid-way through. Still, it's a handful trying to devote enough time to each hobby to assuage the guilt I feel for the money/time I've spent on half-finished projects that I push out of sight because I'm just not interested in finishing them in the moment. Well, I've gone and added another hobby to the teetering stack. I've fallen in love with miniatures.
I've actually been interested in miniatures for a long time, but didn't think I could afford to indulge. Then I discovered that I could make a lot of the furniture with a simple scroll saw, and many interior items with polymer clay. Now, I'm not interested in dolls or traditional dollhouses. What really inspired me was a Brambly Hedge-style tree house, found here. I loved the fact that most of it was built from scratch. For those who don't know, Brambly Hedge is a woodland creature-filled world sketched in a style somewhat similar to Beatrix Potter's. Here are some photos from one of my books, showing the hollowed-out trunk:
The interiors are delightful - overstuffed and charming.
All of these little items can be crafted by hand! To practice, I built my first piece: a tiny overstuffed chair for a future living room. The tutorial itself is here. I'll just show you the progression of the piece, built completely with foam core and cardboard. My chair isn't nearly as realistic or fancy as hers (real piping!), but it's much better than I expected it to be. I hope I'll keep improving!
Shown next to Todd's iPhone for scale. The chair is a little less than 3" tall. The cushions are removable (squeal!). I am in love with it, even with my many mistakes. It was a fairly quick project...one hour plus a day to dry for the initial frame, and then a Saturday afternoon spent adding the arm supports and fabric. I'm going to make another one soon, and as soon as I get some polymer clay...watch out! Todd and I are going to start on the tree house rooms soon, too. We're still trying to locate plywood that's the optimum thickness.
I also made a pop-up card for a friend's birthday last week. Sharks can be so charming, can't they?
I hope you've been able to do something creative recently. Have a great week!