Thursday, July 23, 2015

Nature's Candy

Tieton and Ranier cherries - real and polymer clay in 1/12 scaleTurned miniature bowl by Jacob Wenzel.

The heat and humidity has been almost intolerable lately; it's predicted to get worse as we progress into late summer/early autumn.  Hardly conducive to sitting indoors, hunched over my work table making fiddly fruit.  However, it must get done; no rest for the heat exhausted ;^)

The cherries are part of a larger body of 1/12 scale work that I've been invited to exhibit in Honolulu in late 2016.  Working on the room boxes won't be easy as I'm very much still the novice in the building department.  But it's exciting to be challenged by new endeavors and I am looking forward to the upcoming construction.

Wishing all the best of the season - thanks for reading!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Fruits and Veggies

I've been on a miniature break; finished these just prior...

Tropical fruit "grown" in Hawaii.  Italian crystal alabaster platter by Jeff Spera.
Gathering basket by Lidi Stroud; stained by me.

Wishing you a good week...

Friday, May 8, 2015

Steak and Shrimp...

Two of my favorite foods that go from prep to table in no time.  A large steak entree served on a carving board is a trendy presentation at some pubs and steakhouses.  At Bliss Miniatures, the carved porterhouse steak and grilled shrimp is a meal for two, served on a beautiful figured maple platter. Spicy cocktail sauce is served in a natural seashell as a condiment for the shrimp.  This piece is presently not in my possession and I apologize that the photo, taken in great haste with my smart phone, is not optimal; but you get the picture :^)

The steak slices and bone are textured on each surface except the underside, which was glued to the platter.  I made the shrimp skewers by splitting a toothpick lengthwise into quarters and gently sanding a quarter by hand until l /32" (approximately 1mm) in diameter and pointed on one end.  Finally, the blunt end is trimmed to the proper length.  Takes less than 5 minutes.  Tip: Choose a toothpick with a smooth grain versus one with a rough surface.  A rough surface grain will continue through the toothpick, causing splintering and breakage during sanding.  The skewers withstood bending to a slight arc with moderate pressure and typical handling, including threading uncured and cured polymer clay shrimp.

Turned figured maple platter by Thomas Saunders.  Shell by Mother Nature.  All else by me.

My inspiration...

Photo courtesy of Epicurious

Photo courtesy of Sunset Magazine

Restaurant serving board...

Photo courtesy of The Breslin, NYC

Thanks for reading...

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Raspberry Charlotte - Bon Appétit!

Blown glass cake pedestal by Phil Grenyer.  Turned figured maple platter by Thomas Saunders.

About ten years ago, I came across a Williams-Sonoma Paris cookbook at Costco, a mix of recipes, great photos and wonderful insight into Parisian cuisine.  I was intrigued and challenged by the Charlotte Aux Framboises, or Raspberry Charlotte, and decided to give it a go.  It was delicious but the bavarois (Bavarian cream) was a fussy component to make; not a favorite task.  Haven't made another Charlotte since; some recipes are best left to the professionals.  I'll look forward to one day enjoying a Charlotte slice made by a patissier somewhere France :^)

Rear view.  See the "raspberry pulp" in the bavarois?

The appearance of the miniature Charlotte is based more or less on what I remember of the one I made versus the book photo.  The finished bavarois had specks of raspberry pulp that passed through the sieve while in the process of making the raspberry brandy coulis.

Each raspberry was built from scratch, by covering a polymer clay base formed on a toothpick tip with tiny clay spheres formed by hand.  My initial efforts in March 2010 were clumsy and the base was left exposed in the underside of the berries.  Practice and repetition brought improvements.  It's a tedious process, but I've yet to develop a quick technique for a realistic raspberry.  Shortcuts like molding will speed up production but it doesn't work for me; I'm terrible at making molds and cleaning up pieces takes more time and effort than building or sculpting from scratch.

Mat measles!  Approximately 1,000 raspberry bumps :^)

If you're in the mood to zone out while listening to your favorite music for hours on end, make raspberries ;^)

Wishing you an enjoyable weekend...

Friday, April 17, 2015


Aloha Friday, all!  Welcome to the new readers of this blog; thanks for joining us!  Am a bit busy - this will be short and sweet. 

Just finished this pineapple which is part of a bigger piece.

Italian crystal alabaster platter by Jeff Spera.

Ok, back to work!  Wishing you a great weekend...

Thursday, April 9, 2015

I'm on a diet!

Just kidding.  My younger son was making a late night salmon dinner for himself and prepared an appetizer-sized taste for me.  Awwwwww.  I was just finishing up these miniscule raspberries.  We laughed at this juxtaposition; dinner and dessert in different scales, sweet and savory, delicious and not, real and fake!

Friday, March 13, 2015

It must be Spring...

Spring is here.  Difficult to tell in Honolulu because the seasons don't really change except for a slight chill in the air during winter.  So, how do I know?  I'm in the mood to clean and freshen everything in sight, including my online spaces.

And if that wasn't enough to deal with, the other day a friend mentioned that I really should get on board with Instagram and Twitter.  "What for?" I asked.  I truly was not interested in adding to the time I already spend on the internet.  She said, "You're missing out on stuff, some really good stuff."

She was right.  I've spent a part of this week setting up and getting lost in my Twitter and Instagram accounts, enjoying every minute!  Twitter was a foodie's paradise - every person and publication related to the food world is there!  The same may be true for Facebook but Twitter's format seems less distracting to me.  Think I've found my internet bliss.  Ha ha, the old dog learned a new trick!

Photos courtesy of Lorraine Loots

There's nothing new to report about my work today.  However, while on Instagram, I was able to catch up with an artist that I've been following for the past two years - Lorraine Loots.  She may not be new to you either, but for those who are not familiar: Lorraine paints in miniature.  On January 1, 2013, she launched her genius "concept" project, 365 Paintings for Ants, in which she committed to painting a miniature image each day for the entire year.  Subjects were random, sometimes relating to significant events of the respective date.  In 2014, she rolled out the project's 2nd phase; this time focusing on subjects relating to her home country of South Africa.  I was happy to learn yesterday that she has embarked on yet another year of daily paintings, this time with a twist on themes.  She's truly inspiring; her paintings are thoughtful and beautifully detailed.  Lorraine archives her work on Tumblr; check it out, you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Margherita, not Margarita

Another day, another project!  I'm juggling two at the moment, which works out to be a good strategy for keeping boredom at bay and creativity fresh.  Inventory production took precedence during the past week and part of the focus was on pizza.  A favorite of mine is the Margherita, heavy on the mozzarella and sauce, please...

1/1 scale peas and cilantro leaf and 1/12 Margherita pizza.

Every now and then I'll receive a message with a miniatures-related question. Today's questions answered:

Which clay do you use?  After experimenting with just about every brand of polymer (heat-cured) and air-dry (polymer, resin, paper) clay, I found that Fimo (any type) and Fimo Liquid work the best for me (ask other food miniaturists the same question and the answer will likely be different every time).  Early on I also used certain colors of  Cernit but disliked how rock hard this brand got after a year or so and didn't like its consistency when reconstituted with softeners.  Fimo gets dry and crumbly after a while but it will become usable with this simple hack:  Drop the crumbly mess in the corner of a freezer bag, fold the bag over twice, place on a towel and use a hammer to pound the crap out of it.  Unfold the bag, gather the flattened clay in a ball, fold the bag twice, and pound again.  Repeat the routine; add Fimo Mix Quick or Fimo Liquid if necessary.  After about 5 minutes, the clay should be pliable and ready to go.  This process also works well when conditioning a lot of clay at once and will save wear and tear on your hands and/or clay rolling machine, as well as time and effort saved not having to clean the machine.

Will you post a photo of your clay stash?  (??!!)  Okie-dokie.

Why don't you offer tutorials?   A major reason - there are a zillion polymer clay food tutorials on the internet, as well as books on the subject.  Information galore.  After researching what's already out there, I think the only other factor that would determine one's success is one's aptitude and talent.  Also, if demonstrating or sharing techniques or projects, I'd prefer working and interacting with others in person.  Finally, I've found a good balance doing what I do now - research, planning, production, photography, marketing, sales, shipping, blogging, social media, email, eating, sleeping, filing taxes, general living :^)  Something's gotta give if I add tutorials to the mix!

Kudos to all of you who can manage their lives AND produce tutorials :^D

Have a great week...

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

French Bread

I've been baking bread...

Woven tray by Al Chandronnait.  Mesquite bowl by Brian Hart.  Silverware chest by Deb Laue.
Shopping basket by Lidi Stroud.  Ceramic pot by Braxton Payne.  Blown glass vase by Kiva Ford.
Bread, rectangular basket and wood board by me.  I also stained the tray and chest a darker brown.

...and totally enjoying it!  Very addictive.  The few loaves I made in the past didn't leave an impression on me so I'm glad to have given it another go.  I was interested in authentic French bread and did a little research prior to the sculpts. Interesting trivia - the business of baking bread in France has been regulated by the government for more than 200 years, not a trivial matter :^)

Bon Appétit!