What’s This Mess On My Desk?

It’s proof of life! …or at least of creative existence.

Sometimes a mess is just a mess, and sometimes is a mandated pause in the creative process. Like when the glue and gesso are drying. And you were so focused on this one task that you need to look up and take a deep breath before you dive in again, because otherwise you just can’t disconnect and see the project for the tiny tiles.

I confess, I love making miniatures. I have a few (old) examples on my Instagram feed, but it’s a love that hasn’t left me since… forever.

Allow me to digress for a second. The best word for my “interest” in miniatures and miniature-making is the Russian word “увлечение.” I tried to find an English equivalent, and there is no single acceptable translation. All and none of the suggested substitutes describe it: passion, hobby, infatuation, fascination… But what’s missing is love, affection, the thing that makes appreciate the sweetness and kitshiness of something well made.

Making drinkware from acorn cups

So I have that for miniatures.I used to have this ongoing project as a teenager — a dollhouse not based on any real scale except for the two tiny dolls I used for the main characters in this tiny world. And a challenge to myself: use recycled materials exclusively (or as exclusively as practical). I didn’t go as far as cooking glue in my Paris kitchen, I did buy that, and cutting and measuring tools, but I collected matchboxes, shoe boxes, and other boxes, foil candy wrappers, and previous-year wallpaper samples. Tiny hotel jam containers made great sinks.

I still like to recycle and reuse. Quite a bit of my organization is made from shipping boxes. Besides, why buy when you can have your supplies for free, textured and all?

Eventually that led to another “infatuation” — mixed media — but that’s another story.

To make a long (and meandering) story short, I’m back to miniatures in time for Christmas. I honestly have no idea whether I’ll actually make anything resembling a Christmas Village, but a village starts with a single house, right?

I created the original SVG file for the house after examining many, many Putz houses. I was inspired both by Jennifer Maker’s projects and by Paper Glitter Glue’s patterns, tutorials, and fun posts on Putz houses (go visit her site to find out what they are).

It takes me a while to start a project because I always want to find “just the right” supplies. Now that I’m the giddy owner of a Cricut Maker (not an affiliate link), I can create more easily said materials and supplies. Like the tiny stencil to make the stone texture on the house.

Roof Building Detail

And of course, once I painted sheets of patterned paper, I can easily cut them into shingles and detailing.

I confess. The cutting out part was never my favorite, and especially not now that prolonged work that involves holding a tool and putting pressure on a surface causes pain.

But the assembling part? The careful detailing and mosaic-like building of a miniature? Watching flat cutouts turn into tiny replicas of story book lifelike creations?

That is amazing.

So stay tuned for the finished tiny house. Follow me on Instagram and Facebook to be sure to see the pictures.