Friday, December 19, 2014

Cherished Memories

When my children were young, they were so anxious and willing to help with holiday preparations.  Maybe it was a last effort on their part to ensure they were on Santa's good list!  We parents were usually busy with endless tasks so any help was welcomed from anybody.  Thus, it was usually the duty for the youngest at the time to prepare Santa's cookies and milk until, of course, they no longer believed that Santa broke into our house (no chimney!) to leave gifts.  Being typical youngsters, they were easily distracted...

Maurice Sendak's "Nutshell Library" and house of cards by Grace Griffin/TreeFeathers Miniatures.
Glass vase by Kiva Ford.   Basket by Al Chandronnait; I stained it a darker brown.
Cookies, milk and painted Christmas tree plate by me.

I remember being slightly annoyed as their "help" actually meant more cleanup to be done.  But annoyances were short-lived as the spirit of the holiday season kept everything merry.  And the kids themselves were truly magical - full of innocence, hope and good intentions.  I miss those days.  The kids are grown now and no longer that magical, haha.  But I am looking forward to when we can celebrate with magical grandchildren :^D


p.s.  To all who read my last post, I have redeemed myself and am officially "off" of Santa's naughty list - no lump of coal in my stocking, woot!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Patisserie on overdrive!

Pastries seem to be on many minds - I've finished three orders and have made a fourth piece to list on my website.

Espresso machine and flatware by Yukio Kawai/TYA Miniatures.  Snakewood bowl by Jeff Spera.  Basket by Al Chandronnait - I stained it a darker brown shade.  Food and flowers by me :^)

Ho, ho, ho, are you on Santa's naughty list or nice list?  I fear I may be on the naughty one, evidenced by my backlogged order book, though the delays were not intentional.  But I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and there is hope that I'll be caught up by Christmas in order to avoid a lump of coal in my stocking.  Which list are you on?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick post today to say, "Thanks!"  I appreciate that you read my ramblings and musings, tolerate so-so photography AND leave wonderful comments that always make me smile :^)   Thank you so much!

Looking forward to reupholstering the chairs and refinishing the dining table soon :^)

Filling the wine glasses and decanter wasn't as easy as I thought!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Le Petit Déjeuner

@#$%&!!  Another unavoidable leave of absence from my workshop has left the Bliss Miniatures order book in complete shambles.  C'est la vie.  However, I am back and determined to conquer the backlog tout de suite!

For an especially kind and patient collector, le petit déjeuner is ready...

 Viennoiseries and strawberries

Le close-up!
Soapstone platter by Thomas Saunders. Elk antler serving bowl by Bill Helmer.
Silver flatware by Yukio Kawai.

Can't believe that 2015 is just around the corner.  Wishing you a happy holiday season!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

.com fun in a small world

Welcome, new readers!  Thank you for joining us.

I've had some down time lately.  Temporarily banned from my work table and bored to death, I decided to update Bliss Miniatures's online presence.  It began pleasantly enough and without issue.  Flickr, Etsy, Blogger, hey, no big deal.  Little changes here and there and ta daaa, sites were refreshed.  Then, there was my website...

Unless one is a programmer or coder, of which I am neither, building a website is a pain in the a$$ for a do-it yourself-er.  Domain hosts, web hosts, DNS, email, carts, gateways, yikes.  The first time around, I managed to secure services and create the site after some sleepless nights.  Unfortunately, the few available templates were too conservative and it wasn't technically possible, for me anyway, to fashion any of them into what I had envisioned.  Conundrum!  PIA!!  I had too much on my plate at the time and foolishly let the trial period with my host lapse.  Making changes at that point would not have been feasible.  My inner perfectionist never ceased to be annoyed.  I got lazy and didn't fully utilize the site; it was virtually ignored for three long years.

New and improved :^)
Original website

This time, more knowledgeable of everything except, of course, coding (still no time to learn!), my hunt for appealing templates led me to Weebly.  It was to be the best choice for me, albeit with a few minor drawbacks.  So what, no web host offers everything for a reasonable cost.  There was a learning curve, but freedom to design and tweak to my heart's content!  Bells and whistles :^)  Coding optional :^)  I really enjoyed the opportunity to turn an almost blank slate into my site.  If I can do it, anyone can.

The shop shelves are pretty bare at the moment but I will commence stocking up in the near future.  Please visit at your convenience...

Speaking of the Internet, our world has become a smaller place because of it.  A year ago, I requested help in this post with identifying the artist who turned the beautiful bowl, left photo (initials LM etched on the underside).  I now know that LM is Lars Mikkelsen, proprietor of Built In Wood at Etsy!   He builds fine, collectible miniature furniture, primarily in the craftsman style.  His exotic wood turnings are thin-walled and beautifully detailed.  I stumbled on his store completely by chance when I spied a listing for a bowl similar to mine.  We were in contact and voilà, mystery solved!  It was amazing to learn of the background of my bowl, made about 15 years ago, from the turner himself.

Thanks for reading...wishing all a happy new season, fall or spring, wherever you may be!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Plastic Surgery

Early in my polymer clay journey, I was under the impression that bungled sculpts required starting again from scratch.  Repairing mistakes on a polymer clay miniature to be offered for sale was ill-advised.  Though I can't remember exactly where online I read this information, it was taken to heart.  I tried my best to avoid having to begin anew but mistakes were inevitable.  Frustrated at wasting time and effort, I realized that it would be worthwhile to experiment with techniques regarding alteration and repair.  I learned that polymer clay is very forgiving, even in its cured state.  This is true with other materials as well.  Fixing errors or making adjustments is possible in most instances, only not in extremes such as with clay damaged during the curing process.  If the alteration or repair is structurally sound, permanent and undetectable, it is a winning outcome.

The other day, a trusted critic emailed in wonder at how I could let that "totally unrealistic orange tart crust" slip through my sensors!  Such drama ;^)  The original crust was not damaged, but I agreed that reworking it would be an aesthetic improvement.  And it's my belief that an artist is free to alter his/her original art until finally satisfied.  The original crust was replaced with a new, texturized version.

Before, left, and After

The result seems realistic, but such judgement is in the eye of the beholder. Which do you prefer, before or after?

Thanks for reading...wishing all an enjoyable weekend!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Photo session!  The challenge was to style unrelated miniatures into a pleasing and comprehensive scene.  Since I still have yet to construct a room box for display, the focal point had to be another table against a white background.  The chosen table was previously bare wood on all surfaces.  Thought that would be too bland in this instance so I stained all but the tabletop and underside in golden pecan.  I believe the table material is basswood; the stain was unevenly absorbed, resulting in a worn, aged appearance.  Quick and easy, I loved the result.

The lidded box used as a salt cellar is the gorgeous work of Bill Helmer.  A collector recently requested miniature salt in a vessel for a tabletop.  The most realistic recreation I could think of was the real thing - granulated table salt.  We determined that she already owned the perfect vessel so I suggested that she could simply make the miniature salt herself.  And attracting pests would be highly unlikely as salt is a natural repellent.  All that is needed: about a teaspoon of table salt, ZipLoc bag, hammer and a towel.  Place table salt in a corner of the bag, fold corner over twice and place on towel on a firm surface.  Pound salt in bag with hammer several times (stress reliever!).  Cut corner of bag and fill container, that's it!

Arranging the scene was fun - commissioned food, some food to be listed for sale here.  I'm imagining that the dragon bottle holds aged balsamic vinegar :^)  Pure whimsy, found at The Crafty Bead at Etsy. 

Bread board by Janny Warnaar/Art of Mini.
Porcelain fruit plate dressed with my decal.
Lidded box by Bill Helmer.  Silver plated teaspoon by Yukio Kawai.
All food by me, of course :^)

Gorgeous Santos rosewood pedestal plate by Thomas Saunders.
Bicolor cutting board by M&C Creations.

Beautiful shallow bowl in purple lilac by Larrell Howe.
Strawberry quart basket by Al Chandronnait.

On a personal note, life has been very quiet and empty lately.  Our beloved four-legged family member, Kobe, has left us for that magical meadow on the way to the Rainbow Bridge.  We've been blessed to have had him in our lives and he'll live forever in our hearts....

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Peachy keen ;^)

Nothing new happening here except these peach minis...

Snakewood and ebony pedestal bowl by Jeff Spera.  Wooden kitchen tools by Patie of minisx2 at Etsy.
Metal ladles by Yukio Kawai. Fruit, flowers, pie and slice, decaled plate,
shabby pie plate basket, fringed silk napkin and wood board by me.

The pie set and peach bowl are available here.

Enjoy the week, thanks for reading!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Missed Opportunity

There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one.”  
― Kazuo Ishiguro

Gathering basket by Lidi Stroud.  White metal colander by Yukio Kawai.
Green Italian soapstone board by Thomas Saunders.
Ceramic plate by Elisabeth Causeret.  Food, chopsticks and zebra wood board by me.

Ahh, another bump in the mini road.  I intended to apply for Fellow membership with the IGMA this year but unfortunately did not meet the deadline to submit my work.  The shrimp plate was incomplete; had there been another day to finish, all would have been well.  However, the IGMA does allow handcrafted pieces made up to two years prior to an Artisan's application.  I took advantage of that allowance for one piece, but insisted on submitting my latest work for the other four; wrong move when time is of the essence.  So I have no excuses.  Of course, there were events that contributed towards this missed opportunity.  But the bottom line is that I didn't manage the project well and failed.

YET, there was a very bright spot in the midst of darkness!  Lidi Stroud, IGMA Artisan and miniaturist extraordinaire, accepted my commission for the beautiful gathering basket and shopping tote shown below.  She then sent BOTH AS A GIFT with her best wishes for a successful Fellow application!!  Such a kind and generous gesture that I will never forget.  Lidi, if you're reading this, I am chagrined at missing this year's application but will be using the gathering basket next year and promise not to disappoint!

Both baskets were the same color.
I added the dark brown stain to the gathering basket.

I've since gotten over my pouting session and am looking forward to the 2015 Fellow application.  Will begin work on those submissions shortly :^D

Thanks for reading...wishing all a great week!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Craving cake...

Came across these photos while organizing laptop data - caramel cake made on request a little more than a year ago. Gravitating towards the kitchen...must have cake now!  Oh, the drawbacks of being a food miniaturist... :^)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Testing the light...

It's been quite a while since I've been able to sit at my work table and create anything.  Finally, a few nights ago, I was able to get back to business.  Feels great to be working with clay again!  After setting up the "photo studio" I couldn't resist a mini session.  Must test the lighting ;^)  Or, as my husband observed, "Just a good excuse to play."

In the photo:  Soapstone and exotic wood turnings by Thomas Saunders; except the dendritic soapstone bowl, middle left, by Jeff Spera.  Dragon motif bone carving from Wendy's Miniatures.  Glass vase by Kiva Ford.  Dale Kendall rabbit's foot fern leaves and "Dreams" laser-engraved box, both painted and finished by me.  Everything is now back in storage :^(  It all deserves a permanent display...maybe next year?

Wishing you a great week...