Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato.....

Thursday, February 18, 2010

strawberries....and sooo many gifts!

can you see the seeds

a tad late, but better than never, as 'they' say right? (who are these 'they' everyone speaks of anyway?!?!)

1:12 strawberries in air dry clay, tracing paper and acrylics. i tried to make it such that you can see the seeds....it's sorta kinda half successful....far better than my initial attempts at strawberries i think ^ ^ these are sooo addictive to make! approx 3-4mm big. i don't know yet what i'll use them for....

and yea. i have really wrinkly palms -_-" something about a hard life....etc.....i hope and think that the worst is over now ^ ^

ON TO THE REALLY FUN STUFF XD XD

so i've been busy with CNY preps, commissions and stuff, and now that most of it is over i am trying to catch up with my posts...i did quite a number of swaps with other miniaturists......SHOW AND TELL TIME! i actually received one more package late today from Dale of http://dalesdreams.blogspot.com, i'd won her birthday giveaway!!! i never win anything so this was a really pleasant surprise! i'll blog about that soon too. PROMISE! ^ ^

in reverse chronological order....here's what i've received....i hope i didn't miss out anyone yikes my memory isn't what it used to be. which is a good thing! well. kinda hard to explain. but it's definitely a plus for my bf's sanity's sake LOL

swap with Kim aka fairchildart

Kim of http://www.flickr.com/photos/fairchildart/ sent me these wonderful items! i'd initiated a swap with her as i've been a fan of her works for a while now, and since we had a small exchange about some cute little sundae glasses that made me go "nghghghhg" inside...i asked if she would help me procure some, and also requested a sample of her works.....she sent me the cutest jellybean filled dish and a breakfast set!

Kim's runny egg breakfast
i remember gasping aloud when i saw this on her flickr set. that runny yolk!!! SLURP :9

oh so cute cookie cutters from Kim
the cookie cutters are TOO TOO CUTE XD


chrysnbon cutlery sooooooo cute and perfectly scaled
and omgomgomgomg!!! i'd been hankering after this set for a while, Kim must be psychic :O so dainty, and beautiful! i was telling Nyann how i daren't open it up....AHHHHHHHHHHHH but how else would i use it then!?!? :(

sundae glasses
here are the sundae glasses! they put a small dent in my PP acct but i think they're worth it ^ ^ Yotsuba's gonna have different parfaits for each day of the week XD

Thank you soooooooooo much Kim!

(which reminds me, Dale once educated me on the difference between a sundae and a soft serve icecream. gee i hadn't known there was difference and i felt so silly for it hehehe )


gift/swap with Linda
looks like i hit jackpot, eh?? LOL!

Linda of http://lindaslittles.blogspot.com wanted to send me some papers she printed herself, and i was caught unawares by her package! i didn't expect this huge haul of items and materials for mini use! as in all my swap requests, i would ask for utensils, kitchenware etc. since i enjoy collecting them (you should see my re-ment and sylvanian families collection....i guess that's my cue to put 'em together for a photoshoot haha )


gift/swap with Linda
i have a soft spot for cutlery. they're sooo dainty and hard to obtain in accurate 1:12 scale, so these were definitely a treat to me! i believe this is chrysnbon too..... but look also at the detail on that ham!


gift/swap with Linda
here's some of the papers she printed for me. sadly, my paper puncher just would not work on them :( i think it's too blunt, and since i can't use the puncher without the mega-aid (recurrent thumb injury) i can't seem to punch them out accurately either, and the 3 that i tried were slightly torn too :( i guess i'll have to try again another day the old fashioned way....*snip snip snip

more stuff in the mail

the basket, wooden bowl and jug in the upper right hand corner are also from Linda. I hadn't realised there was an additional film canister in the parcel, and had neglected to photograph it with the main batch of items!

the rest of the items were purchases from Talina http://www.flickr.com/photos/kittiesmademedoit/ who does amazing work and restorations. she gave me the little 'glass' bowls and pie tins ^ ^ i hope my pies made it to her safe and sound...

Thank you Talina and Linda!
serving platters by Petitplat
and of course, EVERYBODY knows Petitplat / Stephanie XD http://petitplatbysk.blogspot.com/
she specially handpainted these platters for me!! look at how GORGEOUS they are :O

thank you Petitplat!
only the upper right 3 weren't painted by her. she also included the cutest cake and tart! i truly truly am in awe of her works. then again, any regular reader of this blog would know by now XD gush much? YES! :X

Thank you Stephanie!!! *huggles*

hand puppet from beckynot
and lookit this little cutie! ok i'm referring to the puppet. hwa hwa hwa. http://www.flickr.com/photos/beckynot has a WICKED WICKED sense of humour! this is my 2nd swap with her...Yotsuba's super happy with her new toy!

Thank you Becky!


i need to find a way to display all my minis...the cafe has been sorely neglected and what better excuse to get it done up for all these wonderful items, eh? ok. time for bed! thank you so much everyone!!!

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Teensy Weensy Miso Soup

misosoup
am waiting for the resin to set. :)

SLURP!

spring onion
made these last night with air dry clay.

i remember watching a video i found online, and stored it away in my memory till i finally found a reason to use it YAY!

FOUND IT IN MY BOOKMARKS WOOT!

http://www.thaiflowerart.com/english/thaiflowerart/Coating_wire_graded___Making_clay_flowers.html
i followed and adapted the technique used here, using i -think- 28 gauge wire. it's so fine and slightly less than 0.5mm thick. not sure where you can buy it since grandma found it while packing and asked if i could use it. chucked it away for a long time, YAY FOR HOARDING!!!

the whole website is a treasure trove of information. i can't remember when i first discovered it, but i do recall spending hours reading and watching ALL of the videos the lady has posted.

http://www.thaiflowerart.com/english/thaiflowerart/Techniques_to_make_clay_flowers_from_DaisyClay.html

above link shows all the techniques she uses with air dry clay. i think she sells thai clay too i'm not familiar with the products, but all the free videos are awesome~!

the tofu is made from polymer clay, baked of course. and the kelp....well i had a lot of problems with it cos i didn't know how to manipulate green. i have problems getting colours right since i don't buy ready made colours (which will be amended tomorrow... wah ah haha ) and after multiple failed attempts with polymer clay, i thought, "F*CK IT" and painted a piece of tracing paper with acrylics. YAY!

mixed up some ochre/brown/white acrylics into epoxy resin, and voila. miso soup. just wish i had nicer appropriately scaled bowls. time to do some online shopping :E

kk off to CNY lunch with bf's family. imma be late!! :O :O :O

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Congratulations Luc!

giveaway 2

giveaway 2 winner

Congrats Luc!!!i will be attempting to contact you shortly ^ ^ his/her pet phrase...kinda makes me laugh. cos it takes on a rather different meaning in our local context XD


"moi pet phrase ish... "帮个忙" aka "help lah"... s22"

i think the winner is a 'he' because....i often hear this only amongst army guys haha!

and a big thank you to everyone who played along! i have found myself recently testing out the new pet phrases i've learnt...some were really strange....XD i want so much to play favourites but i think it's funnier if you just read through ALL of the pet phrases yourself! you can read the responses here

http://snowfern.com/2010/02/2nd-giveaway.html


again, gratz Luc!

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

2nd Giveaway!

2 fruit tarts, icecream cone, doily and wagashi set

OK! as promised, here's the items you stand to win for the 2nd giveaway! it's really simple, since it's just a thank-you-for-reading-and-following giveaway ^ ^

all you have to do is comment on this post, and tell me what's your pet phrase, and how you came to use it :P yea it's silly i know, but i think the phrase that i tend to use a lot when i'm feeling silly is "how much wood can a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood", and i believe it's from a lucasarts game "Monkey Island". i just like how it rolls off my tongue XD

what's that got to do with minis, you ask? NOTHING! that's the fun and irreverent bit of it all!

and thanks for following! 106 and counting....the past year has been a blast and now as i move on to my 2nd year of minimaking, i hope for happiness and PLENTY OF FUN while doing this ^ ^ the draw will commence on this Sunday afternoon (or eve, if i'm out, my side of the world)

7th Feb 2010

COMMENT AWAY!

(oh yeah, i'll also add in some cupcake liners just forgot to take pics of them -_-"" bah i have pics of them everywhere anyway.)
((i don't care if you've won or participated before either, it's free-for-all ;) ))
(((edited date cos i'm flaky and do not know how to read calendars XD so far the responses have been hilarious!!!)))

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

An unexpected date and trade!

today's loot

sooo, today i unexpectedly traded for some items. i'd picked up my parcel from the post office, i'd previously purchased some items from HeyYoYo, and they're SOOO CUTE! well packaged too ^ ^ Thanks Amanda!

you can see the reserved listing in order to identify which items i got, and how much i paid for 'em here:

http://www.etsy.com/view_transaction.php?transaction_id=23980937

she's really friendly, and came highly recommended by Asuka!

the flowers you see are from Sans of The Dollhouse Diaries, part of a secret giveaway! woohoo~! there are a few more varieties, but i rushed to take pics so... :X see, comment spamming -sometimes- pays off. HA!

the flower pots and disposable 'styrafoam' lunchboxes are from Madam Ang *secret smile* i won't tell you what i paid for 'em ;) BWA HA HA *winks at Asuka*

the container i used for the shelf, and the acrylic little perch i have the 1:12 items on are from Muji. i simply couldn't resist! i have so many plans for them!

anyhow, i made this impromptu trip down to town because i hurt my hand this morning whilst working the frosting for the commission :( i got a blister on my middle finger (not from flipping anyone the birdie, i'm a nice girl. HAHHAHAHA don't choke), and my old thumb injury acted up again, each time i try to use it a jolt of pain shoots up my hand. and i was sooo moody and in so much pain, when i saw Asuka online, i invited her to join me on an impromptu shopping trip so that i wouldn't hurt myself further. i have a tendency when i work to not realise when i'm hurt, and aggravate my injury whilst i cater to my compulsions. taking myself away from the work environment usually helps.

well. mid-trip, i realised the reason for my moodiness :X LOL. ANYWAY.

sorry if i'm not really replying comments and stuff, i'm quickly realising i'm all over the place, in my head, and on the net. spreading myself a little too thin (and there's loads to go around har har), so to speak. i guess what's most important is to sort out the requests, fulfill the orders, and...STOP CHATTING ONLINE! aughghghghghg

that'll start tomorrow. g'nite :D


(oh and the colourful pillbox is just for Asuka's reference, i used it to contain my beads from aeons ago)

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Experiment - Resin clay + oil paint


resin clay experiment
Originally uploaded by Snowfern

ok i goofed. i thought i picked up the tube of acrylic paint, only when i started taking pics did i realize it was actually oil paints XD

i needed to do some piping/frosting for a cupcake, and after wasting 3 hrs fiddling with the nozzles and polymer clay, i gave up. since it had to be 'chocolate' cream, i couldn't use the huge tub of texture paste (base colour is white, any colour added to it would be of a pastel hue) either.

i don't remember where i posted a pic of how i used the little tips in syringes, might have been on flickr, but since ADC might dry up in the syringe itself, i decided to minimize on wastage and make mini piping bags instead.

i squeezed out a touch of what i -thought- was brown acrylic paint (that'll teach me to read labels XD ), squeezed out a small ball of grace resin clay, and mixed the two in a disposable sauce container (click on pic to see the notes in my flickr). then i added a little bit of water. by a little bit, it meant i ran my right hand under the tap, and flicked a few drops into the container. real scientific measurements, i know.

what resulted was a sticky gooey mess (thankfully not as messy as polymer clay) that i put into my home-made piping bag. Japanese ADC miniaturists have been using the 'foil cutter' nozzle for quite sometime now, i vaguely recall posting the tutorial link somewhere on my site, but i'm too hazy to find it now, haven't eaten yet today. anyway don't cut yourself doing it. shouldn't be too hard to figure out. just don't ask me ok? i'm grouchy. as usual, after every 'experiment'. ha.

yea i like smiley faces

'chocolate' is hard to capture in pics. at least, it's hard for me. i hadn't intended to make the smiley face, but haha it's there XD maybe it's my subconscious at work. yea i'm definitely not smiling now. so it's all in my head.

1 3 cupcake vs 1 12 cupcake
i tested on a sample 1:3 cupcake that i made out of polymer clay. i think the cream is too tiny for that scale, but i'll let it dry and scrape it off later. wanted to see if it piped nicely/adhered to the polymer clay.

1 12 cupcakes
and of course, i had to try it out on a spare 1:12 cupcake XD i'm discontinuing this range of cupcake shapes, since it is not out of my own mold. i will be making available some silicone putty molds of my own design, i've made the master copy of the cupcake base but have yet to test them out on 'proper' 1:12 cupcakes. so far it's looking pretty ok....

all that remains is for the clay to dry thoroughly (2 days maybe? 3?) but so far it looks pretty cool! i will test out a batch with acrylic colours later, and report on the differences. i -think- the oil paints provide a sort of translucency/gloss to the creams, i quite like it but i want to see how acrylic colours do when mixed into just plain grace clay.


anyway. i've finally made my 100th sale on Etsy! i haven't really listed anything 'new-ish', since the bestselling items are my cupcake cases, and also cos i've been busy fulfilling promises and orders and swaps...and i have soo many ideas that require working on (remind me to post about THE GRAND PLAN that some of us TeamMids members are working on....it's kind of naughty ;) *hides behind hands and giggles*

dang, this blog/website needs some major revamping. it's near impossible to find my posts XD


oh, and don't know if anyone really cares to read this, but please, don't ask me anymore questions about how to use clay, what i use for making my miniatures, etc. if you haven't gleaned the info you needed from my blog posts, it means i can't help you further. i think i'll write up an FAQ. i'm kinda sick of repeating myself. which adds to the grouchiness. :X

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Introducing: Ginger Ward via deviantArt

this tiny copic marker first caught my eye. i thought, "Hey, re-ment does this too?" and Oh noooo noo NOO it's in 1:12!!!!





and then i saw these, and i'm like *faints*

i've never seen these IRL before, but they look scrumptious....

i don't think i've ever heard of choc acorns before, now i want me some......



AND these DARLING SNOWFLAKES have GOT to be my faves. AMAZING and INSPIRATIONAL! i wanna make me some. definitely nowhere as gorgeous as these, but imma die trying. i knows it.AND this is the most amazing of all. LOOK AT HER DOILIES. just LOOK AT THEM. HAND CUT. INDIVIDUALLY.

i think she's a rising star. no wait. she -is- a star. i'm glad to have stumbled across her works, she's new to dA and i hope you all hop over and give her some warm wishes! i'm working on getting her to set up a blog ;) tee hee hee!

http://mrscreosote.deviantart.com/



i'm still trying to compose my senses. i can't believe such a talent in both miniatures AND photography has been hiding all this while. SUCH A SHAME!

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macaron disaster


trying to get a good pic
Originally uploaded by Snowfern

can someone help me with this?

i've found that for my larger items, there tends to be 'bubbling' on my clay. see the surface of the chocolate macaron?

i mean it's realistic and all, and i know some miniaturists -want- the effect, but i find it immensely annoying as it is not visible on first bake (the macaron shells have to be baked first before adding the 'filling'), but after i assemble the item, it's MARRED. *$@)(*#$

honestly, it does not look all that bad IRL, maybe i shld use soft focus for my pics *sigh* but ARGH!

i suspect it has to do with either the stock (happens only to my older clays) or how i roll the sheets (pasta machine, usually just once through)

halp!

more pics, sigh.
choco strawberry
piggy tail
at least i'm quite satisfied with the shapes....


colour frustrations
oh and i am terrible at mixing reds/pinks/greens. the pain, oh the pain. the above are just part of the test batch. bakes out differently than when mixed. @)$*#&

=============================


EDIT: OK nevermind i figured it out, cross-posted over at CDHM....


i think it was due to my not pre-heating the oven, not the techniques or the oil paint...i've used oil paints in most of my previous work to no noticeable detriment.....

this time, i experimented 2 ways:

1) old method, roll out, cut, shape, bake WITHOUT preheating oven
2) pre-heat oven, roll out, cut, shape, bake WITH PAPER COVERING clay

spot the difference
results:
1) LEFT: still bubbly
2) RIGHT: NO BUBBLES YAY!!!

i think the oven probably overheated since it wasn't pre-heated, and blistered the clay. so for those who want the texture, go ahead and do what i did XD

===============


PHEW!

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

in the papers today.....

zbnow 1


zbnow 2

and in my very terrible translation of it...

Can touch, cannot eat
miniature food mistakenly taken for real

miniature foodmaking isn't a very popular hobby locally, but in the past 2 years it has increasingly attracted new enthusiasts, the mini food circle is rather large and some have even attracted international magazines and attention online. (i probably misunderstood most of it, doesn't make sense in english LOL HELP!)

although the foods are detailed, interest and passion is strong, to compete with the international miniaturists market and become a full-time miniaturist, is not an easy feat. let's listen to 5 food miniaturists share their joys and difficulties, see how they use clay to make these dreamy food shapes. (eh? lol literal translation makes it all wonky)



zbnow 3

donuts, breads, crepes made out of clay, each cute and small, even smaller than a 5 cent coin, can easily fit over 10 items in a palm. no matter from far or near, all of them can be mistaken for real foods, some even more detailed than the real stuff itself. (huh?)

over the past 2 years, these "can see cannot eat" miniature foods have captured quite many locals' hearts, majority of fans are collectors, some try to make these and sell their works. although there are no official figures on the number of miniaturists in singapore, an insider revealed that the number of miniaturists who have achieved a professional standard but number no more than 20.

locally, the most famous miniaturist would be madam ang, from 2004 she has made miniature foods, initially under tutelage from teachers in Thailand and Hongkong, she has added her own initiative and developed her skills, and had many faithful customers from the start. madam ang specializes in mini steamed cakes, and angkukueh, both of which are very popular. many customers purchase them and place them on their altars.

in 2008, she opened a store in Sunshine plaza, at the same time she holds classes there. she has had approximately 50 students since, ages ranging from 8-58.

she says, "there's no lack in people who are keen, however the lessons are not cheap, and one must have plenty of patience. many don't take the first step, or if they do, give up mid-way"


Self-taught Miniaturists

even with a professional teacher it has been found that they give up mid-way, perhaps due to lack of passion or interest. in comparison, some miniaturists are wholly self-taught, this sort of passion and seriousness is precious indeed.

amidst the local food miniaturists, Zheng Yanling (33), Stephanie Koesuma (23) and Zhang AiWei(22)'s works lights up the eyes, like Zheng Yanling's works, which have been featured on CDHM and a Spanish miniaturist magazine (OMG BLUSH). They have over the last 2 years started making miniature foods, Indonesian Stephanie picked up her skills from an Indonesian teacher, Zheng Yanling and Zhang AiWei are wholly self-taught.

Rushing through the night, Getting hungrier and hungrier

after graduating last year from NUS, Zhang AiWei got hooked on miniature foods after viewing Angie Scarr's works, a partially peeled miniature orange.

she says, "although i've seen many miniature foods in the past, they were mostly mass produced goods, and looked rather fake, therefore unable to capture my interest. However Angie Scarr's mini orange looked extremely cute, moreover it was extremely realistic, so i decided to give it a try."

"at that time, i'd already started sculpting with Korean air dry clay, it dries rather quickly so i decided to try out another medium, polymer clay, and there has been no looking back since."

"there are countless tutorials on the web, moreover there are pictures and videos as well, extremely well-suited to autodidacts. however, faced with so many foods, during the sculpting process one often feels ones' mouth itch, especially in the dead of the night, the more i sculpt, the hungrier i get!"

Zheng Yanling started out with Sylvanian Families, and got hooked on miniatures since. she thinks that although sylvanian families toys are rather well made, the foods leave much to be desired. so she started looking for more realistic miniature foods. eventually, she found a picture on flickr that captured her attention. (i mentioned Petitplat but i guess being vague is better for a 'general' article on local miniaturists?)

she says, "it didn't look too difficult to do, and my heart started itching to try, however there was so much to learn. bf bought all the materials for me, however i daren't start immediately. i spent a whole month researching and collecting a treasure trove of information before attempting to make any."

zbnow 4

Hard work and perseverence to produce results

be it self-taught or taking lessons, practice and experience are necessary. recent graduate from La Selle Stephanie, has plenty of experience in the arts, she first picked up her basic skills from a teacher in Indonesia, and through her own experiments and trials, tried different methods in order to produce extremely realistic miniature sculpts.

she says, "there is no strict rule on how to make the models, often it is through experimentation that you get results. the cappucino for example, simply using the clay will not give you a realistic frothy texture, sand must be added to produce it."

overseas, there's quite a number of miniature specialists who turn their hobby into a business, and for a living, one miniature chocolate can sell for a few tens of USD, moreover customers keep coming back for more. howevr local miniaturists say, turning this into a profession is rife with obstacles, and this interest is best left as a hobby rather than as a career.

in both business and experience, madam ang says, "locally there are many thai imports of mini foods, and due to the low material and labour costs, the prices are kept low. in comparison, our works wind up costing more, several potential customers are shocked by the price tag and retreat, thinking we deliberately raise our prices. many customers don't understand, just a small cake, would require several hours in order to complete it, inclusive of work hours, can you consider 10+ dollars for a cake expensive?" (sorry, really don't know how to translate this properly)

Prices offered by local customers are scary

the troubling issue faced by local miniaturists is, local customers love to haggle over prices, and the prices offered are terrible. some customers think, a small cake should cost no more than 3-4 dollars, for them to consider purchasing it. when selling online, buyers are often collectors or international customers, hence price slashing situations are seldom encountered.

Zheng Yanling confesses, when selling her items, the biggest obstacle is often pricing. because these are miniatures, each item requires not all that much material-wise, nor are the material costs very high, however there are other considerations, like workmanship and work hours, paints, and utility bills (polymer clay requires use of an oven) that have to be kept in mind. problem is, customers often only think of the clay as the base material, thus coming to the (wrong) conclusion that the items are overpriced.

Zheng Yanling says, "pricing our work low would be debasing our works to rubbish. each item is a labour of love, if i were to let it go for little to nothing, then i'd rather not sell them."

she has taken the advice and suggestions of other miniaturists and researched the market prices on the items, however kept reminding herself not to price too highly. for example, a month ago while selling at a local doll event named "The Doll Affair", she took into consideration the fact that doll owners prefer to spend their money on accessories and clothes, whereas props are mostly used for photoshoots, so if priced too highly, the doll collectors might not be willing to purchase the props.

zbnow 5
Picked as one of "Asia's Top 10 Handmade Gifts"

currently in the IT line, Zhen PeiLi has been making miniatures for over 4 years. other than miniature foods, she also makes accompanying dollhouse accessories such as mini trays and furniture etc. although she has sold her works on Etsy, her work has garnered favourable attention, and was voted as one of CNNGo's "Asia's Top 10 Handmade Gifts". however, she still views miniatres as a hobby rather than a full-time career.

currently, she sells anywhere from 1-10 items a month, customers from Europe, Japan and Australia, but the prices depend on level of difficulty, priced from USD7.90 (SGD11+) up to USD100++.
Zhen Pei Li says, "Miniature making is enjoyed by a small circle of enthusiast, whether it will become popular, will have to depend on how deep an interest is developed. as the difficulty level increases, the time required to make them increases as well, so it would require lots of planning and patience. if one were to convert the hobby into a career, there would be many points to consider. ultimately, the most important thing is passion, to do it because you love it. other than motivation, creativity, imagination, you would require capital as well as business sense."

although requirements are plentiful, as well as difficulties that come up, local miniature food makers still swim against the current, like madam ang, zheng yanling and zhang aiwei all hope wholeheartedly to turn this into a full-time job. on the whole, other than selling their works, they also accept commissions.

affectionately referred to as "Madam Ang", she frankly admits that it is difficult to become rich making miniatures, but also reluctantly admits that sales are 'ok'. other than her store in Sunshine Plaza, she occasionally rents a cart at VivoCity during promotional seasons, to raise awareness as well as promote her works. madam ang does not frequent the internet, therefore does not offer her items for sale online.

The web is an effective platform for sales
to the majority of miniaturists, the web is their main avenue for sales, and the most popular platform would be the handmade webstore, Etsy. however, the number of sellers on Etsy can run into the hundred-thousands, to attract the attention of buyers, why not take zheng yanling's suggestion: join a team that sells and promotes items similar to yours, help out each other, as well as tagging accurately in order to more easily search for your works.

participation in events and exhibits, not only helps raise your name, it also raises your visibility to local communities, as well as raise awareness to your customers. however, school exhibits, although high in traffic, miniature lovers might be few and far between.

in comparison, events such as "the doll affair" focus mainly on doll collectors, and although the traffic is not as high as in a bazaar, the attendees have already a keen interest in miniatures. Zheng Yanling, Stephanie and Zhang Aiwei participated in this year's "the doll affair" (lol shld be last year le!) and indeed consider it a very good opportunity and experience, and gives them room for expansion.

Considering the Customer's Interests
of course, prior to making the items, one has to consider the customer's preferences and likes. according to madam ang's observations, overseas tourists prefer local food dishes such as miniature models of satay; other miniaturists have discovered, locals prefer the sweets and desserts in miniature.

(i'm tired. lunch break first. haven't read this much chinese in years)

other than that, in order to attract doll or dollshouse collectors, scale is extremely important, a little too large or a little too small is unacceptable. to attract new non-collectors, one has to invest alot of time and consideration, and convert the items into jewellery or accessories.

the interviewed miniaturists constantly stress this: no matter what sort of model, items should have their own style, and not blindly copy. madam ang reckons, those who enjoy gourmet foods and are familiar with cooking, helps in cultivating a personal style, and definitely adds to the object's realism; those who understand woodwork or sewing, can incorporate their skills into items such as tablecloths or display shelves.

I would like to try too!
to make such beautiful miniature items, one must definitely put in the effort. from which clay to use, where the materials are available for cheap, which colours and how to mix it to achieve realism, alot of personal experimentation and discovery would give the best rewards.

Zheng Yanling says, (omg this part makes me sound so arrogant =_="") "alot of ppl say they can't make miniatures, because they do not have talent towards it like i do. the problem is, you have to try it out to find out. even the best miniaturists, their early works are a mess, in the beginning i had no idea if i could make a decent-looking piece. the beginner has to be prepared to persevere for at least a few months, before they can see the true results." (i don't recall saying much of this LOL i think it probably sounded different in my head, since the interview was conducted in English)

View these outstanding local works online
you can check out the links below to see more beautiful works made of clay.

Hong Xiu Lian (?? donno how to read the last char sorry! will edit when i get berated :P ):
www.flickr.com/photos/mdmang/
Zheng Yan Ling: http://snowfern.com/
Stephanie Koesuma: http://asukas.blogspot.com/
Zhang Ai Wei: http://aiclay.blogspot.com/
Zhen Pei Li: http://miniaturepatisseriechef.blogspot.com


(ok i feel stupid now just found out http://www.zaobao.com/fk/fk100113_001.shtml is available, i guess you could run it through googletranslate or similar....ARGH) i'll edit the post again later....zzzzz.....back to work on more macarons :O

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Review: Polymer Clay vs Air Dry Clay

horrific mess and wastage
still learning how to handle slicing the clay. must learn to be patient and wait at least 2-3 days (depending on weather) before attempting slicing. also must learn how to minimize wastage :(
another try, i don't give up easily
all that, and only 2 'decent' slices LOL but i shall persevere!
was a semi failure
a semi-failure.
lessons learnt:

- although the cake art goes on beautifully, after it has dried fully it 'flattens'/shrinks down to the base, revealing all the cracks i'd been trying to hide XD but it's ok if the cake base is flat.

to try: NAIL POLISH! XD (thanks readers! i will experiment on that next!)
wahey it's here!
MY CLAY IS HERE!!!! ok i guess i should give PCE another chance...at least they didn't mess up my order, and the clay arrived quickly. the order was placed on 22nd Dec 2009 and arrived 08 Jan 2010, during the busy holiday/festive period too!

lessons learnt:

- always ask for a quote on shipping/items BEFORE making payment
- don't be too quick to anger. mistakes happen. XD


REVIEW ON POLYMER CLAY VS AIR DRY CLAY

DISCLAIMER: i can't rightly say that i've enough experience with air dry clay to be objective. don't take my word for it. try it out for yourself, then decide.

Polymer Clay vs Air Dry Clay, GENERAL differences

Polymer Clay Air Dry Clay
can be stored indefinitely quality deteriorates over time, might even get moldy
storage is easy, keep away from hard plastics and dust, cool place needs to be stored in air tight containers, even while working with it
no shrinkage possible shrinkage dependent on brand/type and manipulation (i.e. amount of water/white glue added)
fast curing time, just bake and let cool long cure time
does not require sealant requires sealant since it is not waterproof
can be used for caning not impossible for caning, but different techniques required with not as good results as with polymer clay
requires deliberate manipulation to obtain textures excellent inherent qualities for cake textures
more detailed textures limited time frame to texture surface
bakes hard, almost like plastic with little resistance (just don't go pressing hard into it with your fingernails) depending on type of clay, can dry a little soft
depending on brand, non-sticky if too wet, sticks to hands unless barrier cream is used
requires conditioning no conditioning required
might burn in oven curing time extended in humid conditions
needs baking/specialized oven dries when left in open air
can't use certain plastic tools plastic tools can be used safely
needs more specialized materials i.e. liquid polymer clay, dliuent etc all of which are expensive although there are alternate sources (risky results) everyday materials like white glue, water, paints can be incorporated easily
need better understanding of what plastics can be suitable to store the clay can be stored in pretty much any container
basically only 1 type, POLYMER CLAY, different brands have slightly variant properties (level of translucency, hardness etc) wide variety of types of clay, resin, stone, paper, wood, wheat etc, each with different properties, shrinkage, effects etc. some better than others for flowers vs cakes etc.
harder to clean, older batches of clay might contain toxic phthalates cleans up easily with water, non-toxic (i think?)
cures somewhat matte, depending on brand (KATO bakes to a sheen) dries matte
raw clay surfaces pick up pastels very well, hence easy colouration for realistic detailing requires pretty decent paint techniques to achieve more realistic details


PERSONAL PREFERENCES - POLYMER CLAY VS AIR DRY CLAY
better for baked goods, breads etc cos it can pick up pastels better for RICE, sprinkles, cake slices, stuff that doesn't require too much surface detailing
does not require sealant, i'm lazy, ha! do not like having to seal it as details can be lost, sealant/paint details may rub off
FAST CURING TIME! I can finish a project within a day have to wait and plan out projects over a few days to complete
lack of availability is frustration pretty easily available in Singapore
messy sticky, needs special cleaning materials like baby wipes, baby oil, lots of tissue cleans up easily with water, non-toxic (i think?)
have to be careful of which surfaces that come into contact with it not so many worries XD just don't get it wet
creams, cake art can be easily manipulated with liquid polymer clay have to work with specialized mediums ('cream' clay, texture pastes etc) to achieve results
personally find it picks up dirt faster than ADC not as 'dirty' but still does pick up dirt (ok i'm a dirty girl XD)
colouration, graduation of colours using skinner blend makes for realistic transition of colours HAVE TO PAINTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT, am TERRIBLE at painting, washing brushes not a fave thing to do either
hurts when i have to condition it no need to condition. Less resistance than polymer clay
easier for me to add details without worrying about distortion too soft, shape difficult to maintain when adding textures
more difficult to work with molds, molds might react with clay easy to work with molds. Just let dry and remove


VERDICT:

I LIKE BOTH. i am thinking of experimenting a little more to incorporate the 2. feel free to add your comments on your preferences ^ ^

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Experiment - Air dry cake art

i think i'm almost there

*feeling pleased with self*

am waiting on these to dry before glossing, let's see if i can then consider this a successful experiment!

can you guess what i used for the frosting/icing? no prizes, and i will never reveal what it is, but if someone figures it out i'll definitely let you know ;)

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Experiment - Air dry clay (and yet again!)

ugh need to mix the clay more thoroughly
first try. you can tell i didn't mix the clays sufficiently. well ok maybe only those who work with air dry clay can tell better. click on pic to see notes i've added on flickr to the pic.
oh what a disaster
this one is a mega disaster LOL the white lightweight paper clay might have been a little too pulpy, but i think maybe MAYBE if i added more grace, it wouldn't flake and crumble when i slice into it?
getting better at slicing
this one gave the best results, but took the longest to dry cos i totally added too much water. at least i -think- i've figured out how to slice it decently. i used a razor blade for this.
more failed experiments
and i really wanted to find a way to do the frosting like i did for my donuts, 'cept air-dry style. this is a defniite failure. i mixed acrylic with white glue for the lower one, but i think the ratio was wrong and the acrylic dried up too quickly. the upper one was only marginally less of a failure as i'd added 2:1 water: acrylic, then a dab of white glue. still. no go. not as beautiful as the results i get with liquid polymer clay.

which would be tomorrow's experiment. :) wow 3 posts in a day!

oh yeah, these bases were made with the help and advice from Asuka but please don't pester her LOL! i literally mucked about with the clay, it got so messy i think more than half the clay went down the drain since it stuck to my hands and i got so grossed out i nearly gave up more than once > <

see what i mean by 'lots of failures'? man if i had documented all my polymer clay failures i'da given up a looong time ago :X

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