Archive for February, 2013

Papier Mache Easter Eggs

Open House Miniatures - minaiture papier mache easter eggs

German Cardboard Easter Eggs were part of my childhood and I love them dearly.

My miniature versions are made with paper, on to handmade molds, and the decorations are replicas of antique lithographed scraps.

I like to vary the pictures as much as possible and I can never decided if there is one that I like more than another.

The miniature eggs are are surprisingly robust but, just like the real thing, they will deform if they get wet / too damp.

Open House Miniatures - papier mache easter eggs open and shut

I have spent most of this morning trying to photograph the batch I have just made and have come to the conclusion that it is impossible to get a decent close-up, although I did get some very interesting effects.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A minor point –

All the antique / vintage eggs,  that I have seen, have the top of the picture at the fat end of the egg.

This looks odd to me and so I always make some with the top of the picture at the pointy end of the egg, as well as the “correct” way round.

Read Full Post »

Oh No…

I have just had a notification regarding “spam” email from WordPress.

Unfortunately, some of it is not “spam” at all.

I would like to apologise to everyone who left a message on “My Dilemma”, and who did not get an acknowledgement.

In particular to  Le Minis di Cockerina, who left me a kind message and whose very enjoyable blog (I love the selection of Christmas miniatures) is here http://leminisdicockerina.blogspot.it/

I am truly sorry.

WordPress has something called Askimet and this filters out “spam” emails.

I could switch Askimet off, but when I do this I receive a huge number of peculiar messages. Admittedly some of them have very inventive addresses which (sometimes) make me laugh, but despite this they are still not my favourite reading matter.

So, dilemma time again…

I could say, the first person to leave a comment gets the “giveaway”, which would be nice and quick from my point of view, but it is unfair because of time zones and Askimet.

I could promise to check my “spam” folder – this sounds sensible and practical but will I remember to do it?

If I feel guilty enough, I might.

So, as I am feeling more than just a bit guilty, I will try one more time.

These fans are too delicate to survive in my “Think About These” box.


I had help with these photos


The black shape is the top of a bottle of Hugo Boss aftershave.

If anyone would like a fan, please leave me a comment, letting me know which colour tassels you would prefer.

You can say both if you like.

I will check my “spam” folder daily.

On the 1st of March, a friend of mine will pick two names/numbers, and I will contact the winners.

Lastly, but by no means least, Ersilia of  Dadasdollhouse  mentioned that when she makes fans she uses fans from the Graphics Fairy’s online collection.

Ersilia’s (dual language !) blog is well worth a visit. It features some excellent projects to make and her collection of links for printable materials is truly impressive. (You may need to scroll down to see Materiale da stampare – Printies on the right hand side of the page).

***   ***   ***

Please see “How to Make a Miniature (printed) Fan” if you are interested in how I made these / would like to make one yourself.

Read Full Post »

open House Miniatures - How To Make a Fan

Real life, full-size fans come in all shapes and sizes and they are made from all sorts of materials. In fact, they vary tremendously.

There are, however, two important facts about miniature fans.

  1. They are  very, very difficult to photograph – 63 photos and this was the best of them !
  2. It is very, very difficult to find a print of a fan that does not lose its detail in miniature.

Below are a couple of superb (professional) photographs of very beautifully decorated painted fans.



The smaller fan (top right in both photos) is 12th scale (on my computer) and look how the detail vanishes in miniature!

Some people prefer to use scraps, like the one below –

Open House Miniatures _ Victorian Scrap Fan

Scraps are often boldly designed and can work very well, but rather than using prints (of any sort), I find it much, much easier to design and paint my own fans.

If you would like to make a fan, you may well find this more satisfying too.

Which brings me to a third important point about miniature fans, and the question that I am most often asked –

Are they difficult to make?

The answer is yes, and no.

I make sure I have a good night’s sleep, a large breakfast, and lots of daylight, before I make them. (This is the truth)

I have learnt from bitter experience that I cannot answer the phone and paint them at the same time, that the paper I use makes a HUGE difference to the outcome, and that it is vitally important to let the glue and paint dry completely before attaching the tassels.

They take TIME, lots and lots of TIME.

In some ways it is easier to make a batch of several fans because then you can be working on one while another dries – I  have had practice and I can make six printed fans in one day. (Wow !)

One painted fan takes me all day.

But, getting back to the matter in hand –

The fans that I put on Etsy are made from professionally produced prints, and the print quality is better than anything that I can manage at home.

I made the example in the slide show with a home produced print because I wanted to be fairly certain that if anyone wanted to make this particular fan for themselves they would have a decent image to use.

The original fan is French and the figures are supposed to be of Marie Antoinette, and her companions, walking in the grounds of the Trianon, but they are so very, very small that they really could be anyone at all.

I chose this fan because I liked the overall design and the rich colours. I also thought that the colour of the tassels could be varied to suit different needs.

Below is the pdf for image. If you decide to make it, I hope that it will work well for you.


A walkthrough for making the fan (with tassels) is in the slideshow below.

To escape from the slideshow at any time press the Esc key (usually top left) on your keyboard.

I think this blog entry should be called: “How to Make a (printed) Fan (but not take photographs)”

Read Full Post »

I wasn’t intending to write about Raphael Tuck at all, but have just come across the most wonderful website.


As well as a few examples from The Doll’s House Furniture Series

Raphael Tuck Database

There are also things like the Louis Wain cat paper dolls

and E. Heatley’s Model Cottages (series 2)

Not to mention hundreds and hundreds of wonderful examples of period postcards.

It truly is the most fantastic resource and well worth investigating.

***   ***   ***

What was I intending to write about?

This week, Monday evening was supposed to be my “internet” evening and my plan was to have something ready for this blog.

I thought about what to write all weekend and came up with –

“Last week I made theatres.”

“This week I am making fans.”

I was planning to do a slideshow about making a fan (like these) but, after I had taken the first photo, my camera batteries died and they will take least 12 hours to recharge.

However, I will be making fans tomorrow too, so all is not lost and maybe I will be able to write two posts this week !

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: