Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Mini Maker : ChelseaMakes

The Amsterdam

I'm really excited to share this Mini Makers feature today!

Chelsea of ChelseaMakes kindly took some time out to talk tiny furniture and big plans for 2018.
If you're not already following on Instagram hop over immediately! 
Chelsea's Simplekits are super cool, laser cut, self assembly. I love the originality (and the packaging! LOVE the packaging!) and of course the unbearably cute side-kick, Martin the Hamster is along for the ride and a bit of product testing!

So, with out further ado, it's over to Chelsea!

"I’m Chelsea from ChelseaMakes. I’m a New York native who now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area of California with my fiancé Nick and our hamster Martin. 
By day I’m a Landscape Architect, and by night, a miniatures enthusiast and maker! Martin helps model all of my designs, and Nick helps with a little bit of everything. I couldn't do it without them."

What first drew you to working with miniatures?
"As a kid I loved miniatures, my friend and I would spend hours decorating and redesigning her dollhouse room by room. In high school, however, it wasn’t cool to be interested in miniatures and so my interest fell quiet for a while.

By trade, I’m a Landscape Architect. In college we often had to make physical scale models of the designs we were working on. That was when I remembered how much I LOVED miniatures. That was also when I discovered Laser cutting- the obsession that would carry over into ChelseaMakes and the Simplekits.

After college I moved to California from New York for work with Nick. Like any big change, it was scary, and the adjustment was depressing. I knew I needed help adapting. I really wanted to find a hobby that would help me ground myself- meet people, learn something new. That was when I got the flyer for TamMakers, a creative group and maker-space in town. I took my first woodworking class there and was hooked. I still teach the Laser cutting class there.
With only a 500sf apartment, the Bay Area doesn’t lend itself to being a great place for furniture building. That’s when I decided I would continue furniture making in 12 scale!
I bought a Glowforge brand laser cutter, and ChelseaMakes really got started. "

What is inspiring your projects currently?
"Simplekits are designed to be assembled by anyone, young or old. And what really inspires me is finding different ways to adapt the same principals of assembly. There’s no better guide than trial and error. "

The Tahoe

What would you love to see happen for ChelseaMakes in 2018? 
"In 2018 I’m hoping to get all of the Simplekit houses and furniture kits onto ChelseaMakes.com. 
I really love them, and I hope everyone else does too."
Check out the cute packaging!

If you had to choose just one of your pieces, what is your favourite item to create? 
"I love making replicas of the furniture I actually have. One of the first minis I made was a replica of our Ikea Poang chair. That was my favorite for a long time. Right now my favorite item is the Moroccan pouf. My grandmother had two in her house and I absolutely loved them. If we had a bigger apartment I would have them everywhere. Since we don’t, I’ll just have settle for the 12scale version!"
Living Room Kit - Morrocan

Find Chelsea (and Martin!) on Instagram @ChelseaMakes
Shop Simplekits at www.chelseamakes.com

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Toys: Maileg SS18

Oh my goodness.

As you may already be aware, we became proud stockists of Danish brand, Maileg, last year.

I can not get enough of their products. If I had the space and ££ for the entire collection then we'd be in trouble.
You can imagine my joy when I clapped eyes on the new season stock.

Along with new little treasures there are some updated favourites, including the Happy Camper Tent in a fresh, zingy green!

Still choosing our new season faves for FLW but would you just get a load of these cuties?!
The wedding mice currently have my whole heart.

What do you think?!

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Birthday Party Pin-spiration!

 Confetti Balloon Kit - Anthropologie

 Guys, I've fallen into a Pinterest spiral whilst looking for fun birthday ideas and now the only way those lost hours become remotely productive is if I share my findings so you can get excited along with me.

Before we lose ourselves amongst balloon installations and full-sized model unicorns, a reality check; my party budget is non-existent and nobody will actually be attending, apart from maybe my Mum, if she doesn't already have plans, but a girl can dream!

Cake, however, is a dream that can come true so expect to see some of that heading this way next week!

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Mini Maker: Menutmon

Original article published in Doll's House & Miniature scene magazine, September 2013
Images property of Menutmon

When I made the decision to make doll’s house miniatures a (semi) full time occupation there was a nagging worry at the back of my mind that making my favourite past time my job might suck the joy out of it? Kill the passion for mini’s dead?
Well, clearly this obsession is deeply rooted and I still get thrills of excitement discovering new makers and unusual pieces.
While trawling through Etsy listings I stumbled across this little gem of a store! Suddenly, my eyes were drawn to a sugary pink high cooler, 1:12 scale at the bottom of the screen.

I had stumbled upon the marvellous, miniature creations of Amparo, the clever brain behind Spanish miniature store, Menutmon.
The shop banner declared  “a new concept in modern doll’s house furniture” I was hooked, slipping into a bit of a mini, shopping trance.
Each item has a fresh, exciting appeal with contemporary designs and stylish colour options; my mini wish list instantly grew about a mile!
From the retro pink high coolers, to elegant bedroom furniture with delicate floral engravings, I vowed to give a home to ALL of them!
Once I’d regained my composure and reminded myself that the bank balance would not withstand such over indulgence, I instead got in touch with Amparo to find out more about Menutmon miniatures and the maker behind them.

What first inspired you to start making miniatures?
I work making scale models and had a project for a TV spot a few years ago. I had to make a lot of miniature pieces, furniture, accessories, and so on. By the time the project was finished, I was in love with the miniatures and began experimenting with new styles. It’s taken two years to develop all the furniture.”

So you’re convert! How many doll’s houses (if any) do you currently have in your collection?
“I began work on my first doll’s house this year.”

If you had to choose just one piece as your favourite from the Menutmon collection, what would it be?

If I had to choose one, only one?!  That’s very difficult because there many special pieces for me but the high cooler, curved commode (dresser) & double beds feature highly!”

Need some Menutmon pieces in your life too?!

Monday, 8 January 2018

Now we are 6: FLW Blog Birthday

This little blog has turned six!
Not quite sure where the time's gone to be honest and equal parts astounded/ proud that my tiny corner of the internet has managed to stick it out.

So, throwing it back to January 2012, I was holed up in a freezing cold bedsit in Brighton, having just quit a job I was un-happy in and deciding what the next step should be, (I'm good at that, currently on the job hunt again at the moment so there's an eery, full-circle feeling going on.) when I thought I'd have a go at this blogging thing that people were getting so excited about.

In a bid to keep the momentum going at the start I set myself the 52 week challenge.
A project or DIY every week, all year. Some were fun, others were pure rubbish but it got the ball rolling and while I'm yet to commit myself to another 52 week challenge. (Maybe next year!) I've had a lot of fun experimenting over here, speaking of, you may have noticed the blog is looking pretty fresh?!

I rolled out this accidental make-over last week after the blogger template I'd been using got a bug that I couldn't fix. As it turned out, this is my fave incarnation yet and it's marrying so much better with the shop (the shop is 6 in the Summer so perhaps we'll have two birthdays, much like the Queen.) so it's all worked out pretty well.

While I've had to pick up and put down blogging to fit around various demanding day jobs, house moves and a few months where frankly I just couldn't bring myself to look at another doll's house thank you very much, FLW has served me well!

Since that first year I was lucky enough to end up writing and contributing to a number of UK magazines, guest blogged, hit trade shows and of course, our 5 minutes of fame last Xmas when I dragged Dad and a massive bloody doll's house onto the TV. *Scariest thing I've EVER done.*
This is the first time I've actually had a proper reflect on FLW's achievements and thought actually, I will shout about them. It has been a labour of love, usually I play the whole thing down as me being some sort of miniature obsessed maniac (true) but, as it's our birthday, I don't mind saying I'm quite proud of what's been pulled together so far. 

Thank you to those of you reading this, your comments, emails and support continue to be so appreciated and I'm excited about what's in store for 2018.
Expect some more blog based celebrations over the next few weeks!


Yoga Mat : DIY

Happy Monday!

It's a 5 day week. It's January, there's still too much Christmas chocolate kicking about and my New Year resolutions are already distant memories so I thought best we get off to a gentle start with this super quick and easy Yoga mat tutorial.

My little sister became a qualified Yoga instructor last year and is constantly reminding us of the benefits of hitting the mat and stretching your woes away.
I'd never admit it to her face, but she is right, and after the initial horror at how out of shape I am has subsided I always feel better for it, though for today I'll stick to the 1:12 version.
Think of it as a warm up session!

What I used:
Craft foam sheets
Felt (cord or ribbon would work too)
Super glue
Sticky labels (to hold in place while drying)

What I did:
1. Cut a strip from your foam sheet
2. Carefully, roll it tight, it will be easy to glue in place if the mat is already rolled to shape.
(Mind long fingernails when doing this, the foam marks easily!)
3. Apply super glue in 2 or 3 lines along the full length of the foam strip and roll, pressing firmly.
4. Use a low tack, sticky label to hold the rolled up foam in place whilst the glue drys.

5. Cut the felt into a 5mm or so wide strip.
You need enough for two straps around the top and bottom of the mat and one roughly the length of the roll to form the handle.
6. Fix in place with super glue and leave to dry.

Your rolled Yoga mat is ready for display. Much like my real one.

For a flat mat just repeat step 1 !!