Friday, October 30, 2015

Getting it Done

This is my last post on doing more minis.

The single most important thing to getting more done is to Do.

We can talk and plan  all we want but if we don't sit down and do,  we won't get anything done.

You can buy all the tools,  all the kits, make all the schedules you want but if you don't take time to do, then all of that will become nothing more. It may bring joy enough for you as it is and that's ok.  But for me I enjoy the doing and so I do.

I love sharing what I do both from a 'look what I finished' aspect but also the 'how I did it'. Once I am done with a project, it does help to inspire me to do more because I do get feedback from my fellow miniaturists.  

I want others to enjoy this hobby too, so I share my mistakes and triumphs. Not to make anyone feel bad but I want to be helpful. I would rather you learn from my mistakes so that you can gain confidence in the doing. I am actually my own worst enemy when it comes to time management as I tend to make things over complicated at times. But I am learning to rethink my plans in that light because I have written about it.

I propose one last suggestion - share what you do when you are done.  Miniaturists love to look at photos and I find the miniature community to be a very positive one. 

This is my last post on doing more minis in honor of Dollhouse and Miniatures Month - check the older posts to see the previous ideas.  I welcome feedback on this topic.  Did I inspire you to do more?

Happy miniaturing,

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Be Inspired to Do More Minis

Inspiration can come from many sources.  
Fellow miniaturists, miniature magazines photos and articles, real life and our dreams of course.  Here are some ideas on getting inspired to do more.

Get off the computer – I love reading emails from others about their projects, but they can be intimidating.  Or they can inspire you to get going.  The inspire part is a double edged sword as inspiration can get one to buy more or to start new projects without finishing old ones.  Been there and done both.  However I have also seen challenges by others that inspire me to get something done.  This is good but can still slow one down to getting done if the inspiration doesn’t inspire actually doing.

Seeing what others are doing can inspire me to just start doing.  Maybe it sparks an idea on how to do something I have put away due to a challenge I couldn't conquer at the time.  Or it could just simply lead me to doing minis.
Join swaps, contests or challenges – there is nothing like a deadline to get me going.  Be careful that the contest or challenge doesn’t make you lose your desire to mini.  Been there and done that too.  I have done swaps for over 10 years.  I love swaps.  But there came a time when I realized I was only doing swaps.

Be selective about what you sign up for. This is related to swaps but also helping with an event.  Pace yourself.  Don’t sign up or agree to help with everything.

Listen to music - I discovered this very recently.  I find that I am more productive when I listen to music.  Watching tv can be distracting if the show gets interesting and that slows me down.  Also watching tv is multi-tasking and means that our brains are expected to do more at once.  Music allows us to occupy the mind without expecting it to multi-task.  But turn the music off if it does start to distract.

This was day 8 of my new series on doing more minis in honor of Dollhouse and Miniatures Month - check the older posts and come back tomorrow for some more ideas on doing more minis.
Happy miniaturing,

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


If your excuse is that you travel too much to mini, well then I ask do you ever have down time that you can watch tv? If your answer is yes, then I say you do have time.
Here  are my thoughts on ways to mini while traveling.
  • Take a basic tool kit, choose based on your kits.  Can even take a craft knife with you, just follow the TSA guidelines and they should allow.  Consider when you pack to maybe not take your best tools.
  • This is when taking a couple of round table or similar small kits is a good choice.
  • Have a small container with you for the finished or even in progress item. Another option - take a bag of beads or ribbons that need sorted and the smaller bags that you would sort them into. This doesn't need to be an elaborate case they will ultimately go into.  Just a bunch of small zip bags works as temporary.
  • Consider kits that are a lot of cutting.  Just be sure to put the trimmed pieces back into the bag.
  • Don't stress over it either, if while traveling the downtime just isn't available.  There is a mindset that will allow you to take the time during travel to work on minis.  It takes some adjustment to thinking it is possible. 
  • Take a miniature magazine with you to read or review.
  • Or subscribe to mini mags online and read on the digital device.
Today is the seventh part of my new series on doing more minis in honor of Dollhouse and Miniatures Month - check the older posts and come back tomorrow for some more ideas on doing more minis.
Happy miniaturing,

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Dreaming is Doing Minis

Doing minis does not have to be the physical act of doing.  It can be dreaming of minis as well.  The more one thinks on minis – the more inspired one will likely be so that when the physical time comes the motivation will be there.

Find ways to think about minis all day long.  I can say that this has helped me in the past.  It can backfire too.  Example, I took a lovely bunny doll to work and sat her on the base of my computer monitor.  I was very inspired to make minis but not inspired to do my work.  I did realize I needed to not have the bunny at work, but at home having minis around to remind me to think about minis is very inspirational for sure.

Dreaming also ties into planning.  Planning what supplies to buy, how the project will be laid out. This sort of planning doesn't have to become real.  It can be just a way for the brain to enjoy minis virtually.

Today is the sixth part of my new series on doing more minis in honor of Dollhouse and Miniatures Month - check the older posts and come back tomorrow for some more ideas on doing more minis.
Happy miniaturing,

Monday, October 26, 2015

Doing Minis should be Fun

I believe that making miniatures should be fun.  Whatever you do, don't make it a chore.  Sometimes parts of a kit are just that so if you feel bogged down by a chore, then do it. Then switch to something else for a while.  Or do it for a few minutes (short time) and then do something else for a time.  Consider that maybe it is the time of day, time in your week or other things are stressing you out.  

If minis aren't fun, relaxing, enjoyable, then change something. 

Maybe it could be that you have waited too late to make the swaps you are signed up for.  Well, we have a choice to make it and be done with it, or not.  The 'not' part maybe not be in your make up and I get that, so I say to keep this scenario in mind the next time they announce a sign up.  Either don't sign up so that minis aren't stressful or plan ahead.  Don't wait to the last minute.  I am talking to myself here as much as anyone. 

Recently I made the choice to not send in swaps for the QC convention.  It was my first time to not do them.  This was a huge decision for me.  But it was a good one.  I didn't want the pressure.  I do have so many swaps that I wasn't sad when I think of them.  Yes, later I had a moment or two that I wish that I had, but not once I reminded myself the reasons I choose to not do them.

Today is the fifth part of my new series on doing more minis in honor of Dollhouse and Miniatures Month - check the older posts and come back tomorrow for some more ideas on doing more minis.
Happy miniaturing,


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Don't compare yourself to others

This is a biggie! I get it. So-and-so gets a lot done weekly/monthly, whatever. It can make us green with envy of their skills or their time. Don't do it.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  

Everyone works at their own pace and has their own skills plus experience.  Practice makes perfect or it definitely will improve any skill. 

Everyone makes choices every day. So-and-so isn't dealing right now with a sick family member or they never leave the house. There could be any number of things different about you versus them. They could be jealous of you who still has their family around.

Making  minis is not a competition unless you actually entered one. How much you get done doesn't matter to anyone else but you. This isn't a race.  The only prize is the project itself.

Don't stress about the doing just take the time you can and do. Accept that there are things you will not do and buy those instead.  

Accept that there will be things you do that will just take you longer than someone else.  Experience comes from doing.

Today is the fourth part of my new series on doing more minis - check the three older posts and come back tomorrow for some more ideas on doing more minis.
Happy miniaturing,

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Have a Plan to Do More

When it comes to doing more there needs to be a plan.
Don't throw rotten tomatoes, I get it. This is a hobby and planning makes it more like work, but hear me out.

I mentioned previously my friend's motto: It's worth it. Minis are worth doing or you wouldn't have started in the hobby to begin with. I propose that the planning will be worth it too.
When it comes to planning, it can be simple. Prioritizing time to do minis with whatever schedule you choose is a plan.

Secondly, taking steps to keep that schedule is also planning. It could be you put it on your calendar so your family knows this is your hobby time. Or it could be getting a toolbox and project boxes set up so you can use the dining room table and easily put away again. If you don't have  a dedicated workspace that allows you to leave the work in progress unattended, then consider a way to pack it up quick.  Another miniaturist described having a drawer that a tray can go in.  The tray is what they work on and the drawer is where the tray goes when needing to allow things to dry or put away until later. Another way this could work is to have two drawers or boxes.  One that holds the bits and bobs that are part of the work in progress but not used yet or not ready to be put away.  The other then holds the project.  Maybe not with a tray but it allows the project to be put away.

Thirdly, it could be setting goals that this week I will get the kits for this room assembled, next week I will paint them, the next week will be choosing and ordering the wallpaper for the next room or whatever. The OMB challenge on Quarter Connection is one a month bunch, to do one project or portion of a project each month. Remember they're your goals so if you fall short it's ok. No point to dwell on it just keep moving forward.

Working with kits often leaves us to think that we don't have to plan.  But we do.  Every decision that is made including whether to use the colors the kit maker used or not, is planning. 

Having a Journal/Plan – this just means to either think about what you want to do or to actually plan what needs to be done.  This is just one way to get organized that will help to be more productive when you go to a show or the hobby/mini store.  It also helps to know what needs to be done next so there isn’t time wasted trying to do something you don’t have all the supplies for.

Today is the third part of my new series on doing more minis - check the two older posts and come back tomorrow for some more ideas on doing more minis.
Happy miniaturing,

Friday, October 23, 2015

Be Organized to Do More

Yesterday,  I talked about two ways to do more.
  • Prioritize your hobby
  • Do minis often: daily/weekly/monthly
Today, I will tie this in to my blog title: the organized miniaturist.

I believe that being more organized can help you do more. But it isn't a requirement by any means.  Organizing most of your miniatures and supplies can make you more efficient, which translates to more time for making minis.

Sometimes just the act of organizing is enough of a mini fix.  And I say it counts towards making minis. Being creative may work better for you to be messy, but everything doesn't have to be chaos

I believe for me too much chaos clutters my mind.  I often find it best for me to stop adding to the mess and do some clean up. I find that my clutter stems from two directions: the belief that I am going to need that something again in a while or just laziness. The latter may be due to time I have available to do minis or it could be I just kept moving along with others aspects of the project. Regardless of what it sterns from when I come back,  that mess weighs on me until I do clean up.

Generally when I get to a point the mess is bothering me it really isn't the mess so much as I may have lost interest in the project or I have lost my momentum or motivation to complete it. Rather than allow my mess to rob my joy of minis,  I do the clean-up. I do put away. I may get some right back out but it isn't the same mess that was bothering me before. 

This is a new series - come back tomorrow for some more ideas on doing more minis.
Happy miniaturing,

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Let’s Do Minis

October is Dollhouse and Miniatures Month
Here’s a new series on doing minis more

Far too often I hear people say they wish they could get more ___ done. Fill in the blank with whatever you are in to.
The  key to doing more is the doing.  It really is that simple. Right now I wish I was doing more minis. But there are many reasons I haven't. I won't to go in to details,  we all are busy and have things going on. Minis are a hobby and hobbies are often the first to go when other things consume our time.

I had a friend once who said she tried to do minis every day.  She has long passed but I will never forget her slogan: It's worth it. Her last name  was Worth so it was a play on her name but also she believed her hobby was worth spending time on. 
This I believe is where our challenge is. If our hobby is truly important to us then we will find the time. We will prioritize it within our day or week or month. When it comes to our time we all get the same amount. We all make choices on how we spend our time. People who are productive with making minis are choosing to spend their time with minis. Don't stress when you choose other activities over minis.  That is your choice. 

My friend felt that daily was what she wanted to do. Small chunks of time will add up.  For someone with health issues this may work better. The key would be to be able to either set  up quickly or leave it out and be able to come back. This latter works for me as a have a separate room now. But I still do the former for small aspects of a project at times.
For those days or weeks when minis take a lower priority, it is ok. Minis will keep unlike family or friends. 

Stay positive and avoid thinking about time lost. Life is too short to spend it lamenting the undone. Instead keep playing whenever you can.

This is a new series - come back tomorrow for some more ideas on doing more minis.
Happy miniaturing,


Friday, April 24, 2015

Use the Delete Button and move on

Last post on email
I have been on lists/groups long enough to have learned that the delete button is my friend.  It doesn’t matter where I am, there is always going to be something I am not interested in.  Quite frankly, if it’s a ‘I ain’t got time for that’ topic, I just delete it (in email) or scroll past (on the web) and move on. 

I find it silly when people complain that there is too much this or too much that on a group.  I will agree that this can happen – a topic gets talked about too much, but I don’t complain to the owners/moderators or on the group, I just delete and move on. 

If the topic continues too long I have options:  
  • Come back later when the topic dies down 
  • or I can leave the group.  

It is possible that the group wants to talk about that.  Maybe I am on the wrong group.  It could be the mod’s aren’t paying attention to the rules that were set or that they don’t have rules to that affect.  What I have found is that if the group is well established the mod’s will deal with it eventually.  If the group isn’t well established with rules or good mod’s then I choose to stay away for a while or leave permanently.  

My bottom line - delete and move on.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Reading Older email first

Call me Old School – I don’t care, but I like to read email oldest to newest by date.  This is definitely a personal choice and is all in what you get used to dealing with.  I am not all about the latest and greatest in everything.  There is a time and place for that.  But with email, I like to read the older emails and work my way to the newer ones.
I just find it is frustrating to read a reply without knowing what the comment or question was to start with.  People often don’t include the original content.  Some setups (yahoogroups) don’t want you to use reply and keep the prior message – it can junk up a digest (bundle of emails sent once or twice a day) really quick.  Nor does everyone even know how to add a snippet of the prior conversation even if they wanted to.  So I like to read old to new.
I do this for work and personal email.

My one caveat is to make sure and be aware if there are other replies.  Outlook will tell me if there is another message in the same thread (same subject line) and so I pay attention to that.  But also I scan down to check.  It does depend on the topic.  Some topics have replies about what each individual did, but some – well the questions could be answering and my input isn’t needed. For sure if my reply is going to be more than a week old, I think twice about whether it has already been said and whether I really want to put in my reply. 

If you have ever wondered how people add the snippet to their email so you don’t just see the reply this is how I do it.
  1. Before using the reply button, I highlight the text I want as the snippet.  Then I copy.  (I use Ctrl + C).
  2. Use the reply button (could be reply all depending on how the system is set up). 
  3. Then either I type a bit if I want to preface the snippet.
  4. Then I paste into my reply (Ctrl + V).
  5. Continue adding my reply.
  6. Make sure I am not including the prior message below mine since that is how mine is set up.  But only so I can choose to include it or not. 
  7. Send.

I may or may not choose to use a separator like === or **** between to indicate that I didn’t write the snippet.  Or I could be more formal and use so-so said, and add quotes.

Also regarding whether to set up the email software to include the prior message or not.  For a while I had mine set to not include on reply but include on Fwd.  I found there were times I wanted it more and didn’t like using fwd.  Either way I have to edit something.  But if I was too forgetful it might be better to not include.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Organizing Email - Outlook 2010 or later and IMAP

Why I switched to IMAP vs POP type email account
I didn’t know what that meant until very recently.  I still don’t fully know and don’t care to 'know', just now that I am using it I wish I had known to switch sooner.

As a miniaturist, I am on several email groups that discuss miniatures.  These groups are found on YahooGroups.  Some of these groups are very active sending 10-100 of emails per day and it is easy for them to overwhelm one's inbox.  Until this week my solution has been Outlook Rules and Folders.  I even searched for a mail app for my phone that worked with this.  So let me first talk about how each of these work.
For several versions of Outlook the program has had rules and folders. 
Rules allow one to say something like this - when xx person sends me an email, move it to the xx folder.  Rules can do far more than that, but that is basically what I was doing.  So for example, I get emails from LittleEnoughNews yahoogroup and I them go straight to a folder titled: LEN.
Folders are similar to what the computer has.  One can have folders, sub-folders, etc.

MailDroid - Android App
When I started using my smartphone for more and more things including reading emails, I searched for an app that could do something like what Outlook was doing. MailDroid was it.  I am not saying that there isn't any others out there, just that of all the ones I tried this is the one that worked for me.
MailDroid allows me to have the folders and rules that I was accustomed to with Outlook. This worked for me except for when my phone received the email and then I also downloaded in Outlook on my computer. This was a minor problem, that I dealt with my deleting in a particular folder after downloading to computer. So I was syncing those folders manually.  Note that I am using my ISP for my email provider so I could go on there as well but rarely did.

Very recently, my son gave me his old laptop (not very old as it was just bought early last year.)  I had been using Office 2010 on my netbook but knew I had available a deal I could purchase Office 2013 so I upgraded.

Outlook 2013
Switching to Outlook 2013 was not in any way difficult.  It is very similar to 2010.  But there is one difference and that is that 2013 requires that email use IMAP versus POP.  I am not going to explain that other than to say it is just a different format and I believe security protocol. My email provider comcast allows use of either pop or imap.  What I have learned though is that I love using imap format.
IMAP allows one to subscribe to folders at the provider level and also it allows one to be synced easily across multiple devices.  This is a huge improvement for me resolving that one minor problem I had.

Setting up Outlook 2013, I had to load the accts new.  Although one mistake I made because I wanted to retain my old info (emails) was to set the accts up first and then copy over my old data.  I should have done the data copying over first.  But I resolved that by deleting the accts and copying the data, then adding the accts.  Outlook 2013 also does give an easy way to import that data.  I won't cover that here as you can google importing Outlook data into 2013.
Outlook 2013 requires IMAP so I had no choice.  Not that I cared really.  But now I know the advantage, well I am glad I had to.  

One change I did because of the syncing that occurs across all devices is to switch from using rules in Outlook or in Maildroid to using them at the email provider level - Comcast.
Comcast calls them filters.  These filters allow one to do the same as rules - move emails from a person or group or with subject line or topic to a folder I specify, for example.
Then in Outlook and in MailDroid, I just had to choose which folders I was subscribing to. IMAP is working automatically to keep the folders up to date with either deletes or new emails.
Another benefit is that now I can see sent email across all my devices.  Before I was just seeing what I sent from that device.  I didn't like the cumbersome way of cc myself which is one work around.
I can also see mail I have stored in other folders that I couldn't see before.  All the mail I have saved over several years on my netbook that imported to the new laptop I can now see on Comcast server and on my phone if I allow it to retrieve them.  My phone is set to retrieve more recent items to save space.
Yesterday's post about delete it or move is very applicable to this idea of syncing across multiple devices.  Much easier to manage if not wading through a bunch of already read emails.

One note about MailDroid - in order to switch to IMAP, I did have to delete the accounts and then reconnect (add) and set up manually.  However my ISP email provider does have a how to page with the info needed so it was very easy to do this.
I didn't have to save anything as when I added the accts back, the history of sent mail for example was still there. This may or may not be true in another program.  I just happen to have saved my data (exported data) from Outlook 2010 so I didn't notice when I started in 2013. Granted this switch was on a different device, so unlikely to have the old data available unless I had done the export and then import.  That is unless I had switched to IMAP while still on 2010.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Delete it or move it – how to keep your email inbox clean

Just like a physical inbox that should be the new stuff – not stuff you are working on, your virtual one should be keep clean as well.  By clean, I mean if you have read the email, make a decision what to do with it.  I am suggesting that your Inbox should be new emails only. 

Before you move everything to a 'save for later' folder, don't just move it to keep the inbox clean.  Think about where it really should move to.  Ideally we should touch it once.  
Think about that physically junk mail, many experts recommend having a recycle bin nearby when bringing in the mail.  Junk mail then goes directly to that bin.  If it doesn't go to that bin in goes to a designated place based on how you need to deal with it later.  Bills, Coupons, Taxes, Misc to keep, etc.  So based on that idea, here are my three actions to take on email.
  1. Delete it – you have read it and don’t need it anymore.  Do this for those emails especially the ones that if you log on to the related account you can view again there.  Example – Amazon tells you that you purchased something.  Yes, I purchased that, thanks for the notice. Then I say delete that email.  If it has a tracking number because it has shipped so might want to save it for a short time – look at the next point. 
  2. Move it for temporary saving– let’s say you have received notice of something shipping or something you don't need to do now, but will soon like paying a bill and you need this email to remind you.  Or it is something that you want to reference later but not long term.  You want it available in the email account, so you don’t have to go to another website.  Have a folder that is for short term holding.  In the case of bills, maybe have a folder that says 'Bills to be Paid'.  This folder then should be cleaned out periodically. 
  3. Move it for longer term saving – these emails are ones you never want to get rid of.  For these I recommend having several folders.  I have Family, Church, bills, and Reference.  In my miniatures account I have also folders that are specific to a particular event or subject.  The folder system here can be as simple or complex as you like. However I recommend to keep it on the simple side to make it easier to figure out which to go into but also easy to find later. Note for my miniature emails, the point of the folders for me is to separate the groups I am on.  I actually move them to these folders and delete them once read, or move them to another folder if I keep. More on that in tomorrow's post.

Other folders that might be useful

Let’s say you don’t have a secondary email account to manage misc email.  Alternatively you could have 'misc ads' email folder.  Mind that this isn’t the junk mail or spam folder that your provider has – if you move it there it might get reported as spam and then you don’t get the ones you want.  I often find emails in my junk mail folder that I think shouldn’t be.  The most likely reason is that someone decided they didn’t want this advertising mail and they reported it as spam, but spam is not mail you signed up for even if it was unintentional.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Dealing with Advertising emails

Let's think about misc advertising email.  It could be called junk mail or spam but I’m not talking about spam – the stuff you didn’t sign-up for.  No, I am referring to the stuff you did sign up for when you purchased something on the internet.  Or when you got that loyalty card so you could get points.  Depending on the site or card, you may have no option to opt in or out of advertising emails. At least none that are obvious.
There are three ways I handle this type of misc email.
  1. I use a secondary account.  I have a second email acct and I use it when I make a purchase or sign up for a newsletter. 
  2. I opt out of advertising.  Whenever I sign up for an account (make a purchase) I look for the box that will allow me to opt out.
  3. I unsubscribe once I am finished with the transaction I sign up for to start with.  Example, I bought a bird product from a website called bird lover.  But I don’t want their emails coming daily or weekly.  So at the bottom of the email, I used the unsubscribe link they are supposed to have on there.  I still love birds, but I don’t want that site’s emails coming in when I don’t want to buy from them anymore.  I can always go back to the site and to purchase again if I am ever inclined.

Doing 1 is the best way to deal with these emails up front so that you know it is likely to not be something you want to see.  If you didn’t intentionally sign up like say to get their weekly coupons – or even if you did.  This secondary acct allows you to segregate email right away.  Just be sure that you check this acct weekly.  Or monthly at the very least.  One main reason for doing this is to not miss something you really do want to see – like a big fat refund coupon or points added to your account.  If you neglect the account, you might as well have it come to your primary acct and do 2 or 3 instead.

In order for this to work, you do need to have an email software that allows you to view more than one email account.  Outlook is one.  Or it is really easy to switch from one to the other once signed into both.  Gmail is like that. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Managing emails – multiple accounts

I am a fan of multiple email accounts.  The main reason is that I subscribe to several groups for/about miniatures.  I want to keep the deluge of miniature related email separate from my personal email. 

Three main email accounts
I have a personal email that I give that address out to family or friends that aren’t miniature related.  I also use this for banking and bills.  The businesses I have to pay attention to.

I have a second email for anything or anyone miniature related.

I also have a third email account that I use for signing up with businesses that maybe I do business with infrequently say someone that I purchase from one time or for a loyalty card. Or weekly coupons are another example.

Initially I did all three with my ISP but moving forward I have switched to using a non-ISP email provider.

I have had a separate email account to manage multiple hobbies.  I also had a separate account when I was a student.

The key to dealing with multiple accounts is the software program.  It must allow one to add other accounts to it.  Again, Outlook is an option, but there are other programs that do that as well.  Gmail is another one that I use.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Managing emails – which provider

Being someone who likes to be organized, I try to do this with my email too. I will not say I do a great job at this but I do have certain things I do that help me.
This is a series on how I manage my emails.
Today’s topic is about providers.  The name after the @.
This isn’t about which provider is better or gives which benefits, but about the source.  Is your @name based on an ISP (internet service provider) how you get on the internet or is it free to anyone?

Since hubby and I have been on the internet I have used five email providers for personal email. Two of those I still use today.  Switching providers is a pain no matter how you deal with it if you have shared it with others.  Several of my changes has been due to switching from one ISP to another.  I have used my current ISP for more than five years and the one before that for at least that long.  But if I ever switch again, I will not set up a new email account with a new ISP.  Instead when I share my new email account, it will be someone like @gmail that isn’t tied to an account I have to pay for.  My hope is that I never have to switch again.  Granted that may not work out, as these free ones can go belly up and then I am forced to switch again.

One thing I do not do – use an employer provided account. With my employer this violates their use policy.  For me, it also won’t be a problem later if I ever change employers.  Using their account actually keeps my private life separate and is why I say don’t do it.  The employer also has a right to read your email even if you feel it is personal if using their email system.

Switching providers?
This is a really good opportunity to do some clean up and deal with advertisers. 
The last time I switched, I spent some time figuring out where I needed to make this switch.  I did this both by seeing who was sending me emails and also by reviewing my sent email.  The very basic way is to is use the unsubscribe link or button that the advertiser is supposed to have.  For other emails, login in to that account and make the change. 
This is also a good time to consider using multiple accounts – come back tomorrow when I address why I do this.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Makeup palettes part 2

I made two more palettes and I took pics of the steps so I could share.

Here are the tools I used
Ruler, craft knife, pencil and glue (also used stick glue but could have used this just would need to spread it)

Here are materials I used

The metal box is 3 1/2 x 5 1 4 inch, scrapbook paper 5 x7 inches (used 1 full sheet plus portion of another), mat board, foam core strips, magnet with adhesive backing, vinyl from a see thru bag

1. Cut the mat board to 3 1/4 inch x 5 1/8 inch. I trimmed my corners as well.
2. Cut strips 1/4 inch wide from foam core board.  Glue onto the short ends.
3. Flip over and trim the foam core strips to match the mat board.
4. Cut a strip to fit between the two short ends. Glue one in place.
5. Apply glue to the back of the mat board and adhere to paper.  My paper was 5 x 7 inches so I had to deal with that.  Also cut paper to allow to fold over the long sides.
6. I had to add a piece of paper to cover the inside of the foam core frame - see the extra pieces added on the short ends.  Also I have covered the long foam core piece that I left off in step 4.  It is shown upside down in the middle.
7. Cut piece of vinyl and use packing tape to attach.  I cut mine shorter than the section, so I could still glue the paper to the mat board backing.
8. Shows the fourth piece covered in step 6 has now been glued in place.
9. Each corner needs to be covered by trimming and cutting slits to allow it fold and be glued in place with some overlap but not too much.
10. Magnet cut and ready to have the adhesive removed and put in place.
Add magnets to the back of pans and put into palette.
Love it!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My DIY makeup palette

This post is not about miniatures specifically – but it is related if you ever use eyeshadows in miniature projects.
Edited 2015/04/16 - to make this more mini related, other people mentioned that the pans make great pans in 1:12 scale, the round ones I show, well those could be small pond - both of these require to remove the makeup product.  The real big container held the pans in by plastic liner.  That liner could be salvaged and the bubbles also used for ponds.

Lately on the DIY list on Pinterest I have been seeing diy makeup palettes.  I have always loved the idea of a bunch of colors to choose from and so having eyeshadow and blush in different shades appeals to me.  But what does not appeal is all the different size and shape of the containers.  It is very inefficient if you want to use one color from this group and another color from another group.  Not that I am in any big hurry to do my makeup, just I like being organized and the multiple container idea is not that.
I have been looking at the various purchase options that are in my price point – Z Palette – which has several sizes and Uni Palette which is one size.  These are all great ideas, but my problem is that I wanted to have more than just the eyeshadow and blush together. 
Here is a pic of all my eyeshadow and blush before

Here is a pic of after I consolidated.

First I ordered some tin boxes on Amazon – these came as three pack.
While I was waiting for the tin boxes to arrive I depoted all my eyeshadow and blush.  This was a simple as using a thin blade and a heat source.  I used a straighter that I just got a thrift store the week before as my heat source.  I also scavenged around my house for the flat magnet stickers.  I had some on my fridge I was willing to use. 
I also had in my stash a tin box that a dvd came in.  This would have worked except for my magnets weren't strong enough to keep them in the lid.  I had so many they had to go in both the bottom and lid.  I did have some plastic to use as a divider between, but that didn’t help to keep them on the lid as it was opened. 
So then my three pack of tin boxes came – most of all my other makeup supplies fit into one of these tins.  I knew I was on the right track with this.
Next I considered how would my palettes be inside the tin.  I figured I could get 3 or 4.  Could I make them like a book?  Well, yes I could.  I did a mock up with paper and vinyl.  The paper was the pages the eyeshadow would be on and the vinyl would be my hinge.  The vinyl came from a bag with a zip top for holding travel size bottles.  I never used it for that as I had other solutions, but kept it around just in case.  So far I was ok with this plan.
So I cut out the mat board of backing, cut magnets the right size.  I needed to cut the corners as my tin has rounded edges.  I also needed to cut them a little smaller as the tin has a rolled edge.  After cutting these pieces I taped it all together to do a test fit. I was really glad I did the test fit mock up, as I did not like the book idea because of having them in the tin box.  Instead I decided I would be happy with just layering the 3-4 palettes in the box.  I did keep the vinyl as a tab to lift them out.
Next I considered whether the palette needed edges/framing or not.  The ones I see on Etsy have sides where the pans go.  The ones I saw in the DIY section on Pinterest used foam core board.  Initially I made one board without the edges and tried it.  
This stage was adding the fancy paper around my mat board.  This was super easy, just glue to one side of the mat board and then make cuts to the paper to allow it to be folded over smoothly and glued down.
Using double sided adhesive sheets to adhere the magnet to the board and having the vinyl sandwiched between magnet and covered board.  It was sticking out about an inch.
I tested this with the pans on it and my conclusion was that the edges/frame was needed.  Especially they were needed since my magnets weren't as strong as I liked.  So I cut a piece of foam core board slightly smaller than the covered mat board.  Then I measured ¼” in from all the edges and cut out a rectangle from the inside.  The ones I was seeing elsewhere were much wider – maybe ½” or more.  I don’t see why I should waste the space.
Covering the foam core piece was more difficult with it being a cutout.  So I determined I would just go with strips of foam core for the next one.  In each corner I had to add a strip of paper to the inside of the foam core section to cover it. 
To avoid having to cover the foam core with paper – one solution I think is being used on the ones on Etsy is black foam core board.  Either that or they are painting it all black.  Another seller was using wood that was painted in a coordinating color.  If I had black foam board, I might have gone that route.  Painted wood seems more work, although the paper covering may be fiddly and about the same.
Because my magnet was already adhered to the covered board, I just trimmed the magnet to fit inside my new covered foam core frame.  Gluing the frame to the paper covered mat board backing.
So here is the first one.

I knew I was going to make at least two more.  For these two I went with different paper.  My paper is smaller and so I had to work with that.  But over all I think these were easier to make.
These were made from 3 ¼” x 5 1/8” pieces of mat board.  The corners were trimmed off at an angle – not rounded.  The foam core frames were made from ¼” wide strips of foam core.  I glued the short ends on first.  These were glued flush to the outer edge.  Used the board as a guide to trim the foam strips to match the board.  Next I trimmed the long strips to fit between but only glued one in place.
The flat board of number two was glued to the paper with glue stick and number 3 with modge podge.  No difference with that.

I then began wrapping the paper over the rest of the board and frame together.  When I did this I cut straight cuts wherever possible.   The long piece was easily wrapped with my paper but the sides I had to add an extra piece inside the frame to make sure to cover the foam core.  Again this was due to my paper size that wasn’t big enough.
One solution to this would be to cover the board first.  It only needs to overlap less than ½” on the magnet side.  Then use another piece of a paper to cover each of the four pieces for the frame separately.   
I did exactly that to cover the 4th long frame piece I had set aside due to adding my vinyl tab/handle.  To add the vinyl,  I used packing tape to hold it in place on the mat board (partially covered side).  I cut it shorter than the width of the inside of the frame.  This allowed the 4th frame piece to be glued to the board at the ends.
Wrapping the paper over the frame pieces especially around corners was fiddly, but to keep it as neat as possible, I folded and creased first.  Then cut wherever was needed so I could wrap it neatly.  Ideally I wanted the entire white foam core board frame pieces to be covered with paper.
Once all was covered, I cut the magnet sheet to fit into the frame area.  For number two I had applied some double sided adhesive sheet that I had.  For number three I had bought some magnet sheets that have adhesive on them.  For number two I also had to piece together the magnet as was too narrow, but when the pans are in place this is not noticeable at all.
So here is all three palettes laid out.
The vinyl tabs don't show well in the pics, but they are there and are used to pick up the palette from the box. If one wanted to instead the tab could be made of paper.
I did coat number two and three with several layers of modge podge.  I will go back and do that for number one and number four if I make it, which I plan to.
All three of these palettes allow me to rearrange and play with my makeup far more than ever before.
All my spares are housed in the aol tin.
I haven't yet, but I am thinking I will add some decorative tape or paper to the outside of my tin box. 
I still have the third tin box, so once I make number four palette I can use that as my spare storage space for the makeup included other such as lip gloss or eye liner but I will make sure to have a divider like plastic or vinyl between.  
If I do make number four, I will try to take pictures as I go and update this blog post.  Plus share my other tin that has the brushes and eyeliner.  

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Display cases review

Protecting our Creations

I am a firm believer in protecting our creations.  One of the ways to do that is to cover them in glass or plastic.  
When I first started making miniatures, I didn't worry about this.  I was naive to say the least. This was a lesson that I learned the hard way.  As I finished my projects I set them around the house.  Typically on a shelf away from kitties or kiddies.  After a few years some of my minis succumb to the dust.  Real life - my real life - doesn't include dusting every week. There were other effects from being unprotected - color change - although that wasn't as obvious as the dust.
Recently I purchased some additional covers.  I wanted them because I had projects that I never bought covers for and I was displaying them in a public setting so wanted the protection from stray fingers. 
Because I know that it is important to cover and protect and also that I don't have a lot of funds to spend on miniatures period, I am always looking for good solutions at good prices.  

Glass domes

Typically, my local Michael's and Hobby Lobby have two sizes available: 8x12 and 4x8. These two sizes are good, but often I want something shorter than 12 but wider than 4.  My recent purchase was via Amazon. I found a 8x8 dome and base for what I considered a good price.  One thing that I have experienced with domes is that they can be too thin or too thick.  This recent purchase is too thick.  But I will use it.  It isn't as if I can identify that before ordering. If they are too thin, then they break more easily.  I broke a dome trying to open the package it was in.  Search for glass domes 8x8 or other size if looking on Amazon. You will get other sizes as well.
Other domes that I have used are cheese domes.  The disadvantage to these is the knob and how short they are. I made mine into a temporary display.  It didn't come with a base so I made one from foam core board.

Glass cases

I have a wood and glass basketball case that I got second hand.  These are the kinds that M and HL carry nowadays.  I have not really wanted these because of the big wood trim around, but since I have one now, I am not as bothered by it.  The advantage to buying at M or HL, I love using their coupons.  But I still consider them pricey.  I just have to remind myself these are an investment in my art.  
There are other types of glass cases - the seamless ones.  I don't have any of those.  Never found one that I wanted to use.  
The big disadvantage to any glass case/dome is the weight.  But the pro is that the glass is easier to clean, although glass can be scratched.
In addition to HL and M or ebay, can get these at Amazon too.


When it comes to plastic, I have been leery of buying these.  But thanks to a product called Brillianize, I am more likely to use plastic if it fits the size I need.  This product allows one to clean the plastic and polishes it as well.  It does need to be used with a soft cloth and not something like paper towels. I got mine at Amazon as well.  I ordered Brillianize with the soft cloths.
My new favorite plastic case is a football case 11.5x7x7.  I have tried two brands with same style: UltraPro and BallQube.  I got both from Amazon at different times.  These are two U shaped pieces that fit together snugly.  Dust protection this has.  They do come in a UV version for a few more dollars and it may be worth those extra if we think about the colorfast aspect.  UV protection will delay fading.  I don't know timing so this is just a consideration.
Both of these brands in the football case have round circles on the small ends.  Don't be fooled by pics that don't show these circles as they will have them.  These are to hold a football in place.  I believe they are molded in so unlikely to be removed easily or even giving a clear view if force-ably removed by say a moto tool.  
I used this for my Nursery Rhymes project. Although these pics do not show the round thing one can see the U shaped aspect.  The round thing I worked around so that when the case is closed over the project it doesn't obstruct the view of anything.  Which just means that as I added the three blind mice, I made sure they weren't under the darn round thing.
I do recommend that one open the box immediately upon arrival.  Inspect the plastic case closely.  My first one was damaged, but it was several weeks from arrival to when I removed the plastic covering.  I took it from the cardboard, but not the thin plastic.  

A slightly smaller size - is designed for a mini football helmet 7x5x5.  I have one of each of these brands.  In this size, I am going to stick with using one from BallQube.  It is made just like the football size one - but without the round circles for the end of the football.  The UltraPro version I have has edges that flare.  Think of an H on its side that is a box.  These flares aren't a problem, just looks and style wise BallQube is my preferred style.  
One of my 1:48 houses has needed a case for awhile.  I decided that if I was willing to chop off the corners of the roof, I could get it to fit in a 4x8 dome.  But thankfully with the new BallQube mini football helmet one that chopping is unnecessary. 
My local HL also has a third style by Pioneer Plastics.  This style is two pieces.  The bottom fits up into the cover.  The cover has boxy edges.  I used one in this style that is baseball size.  At the link, you can't see it in the box, but can see the base. This is a fine cover depending on what goes in it.  This brand comes in a variety of sizes, basketball, football, baseball, mini football helmet, softball and maybe even golf ball.  Depending on the packaging some have an extra plastic base usually in black.  My local HL has them without the base in the basketball size for around $20.

I also have used 4x4x4 cubes.  These I got mine from Uline which meant I had to buy a full case. I think I have seen these at the local hobby chain stores.  They are two part compuression fit with a more typical box and lid style.  I have used these frequently for my smaller scale projects. 
There are also this similar size that are two u shaped pieces - the old style photo cube. I pick these up even if slightly scratched and use them as risers when I display things.

One size that I am searching for is 6x6.  I have two cases (5x5x5 ) that I got on clearance from HL years ago.  These are really nice cases with a wood base.  I haven't seen anything like them but could be am looking in the wrong place.  They may have been intended for softball display but would give more room than softball requires.  Works fine for me of course.
Another solution I have tried is plastic doll cases.  There are different types.  One style I tried was a molded black plastic base, flexible plastic sides (they come flat) with a molded clear plastic cover.  These have a flimsyness about them, that I have steered away from. But one advantage is that even if too tall, they can be easily cut down.  However, don't let you cats knock them over - as they can crack.  
I also recently purchased a doll/car case at my local hobby chain store 12.5x5x5.  This one is two piece compression fit as well.  The base (back for dolls) fits up into the lid.  I bought two of these at M and they hold several projects at once.  They aren't  tall laid this way, so hence having more than one project in same case.  I would be unlikely to use this as they show for dolls the long side up and down as a dome would suit my tastes better.
Another type of case to look for is ones designed for displaying cars.  These are best for one story 1:48 scale.  

Of course another option is a custom made case.  Prices vary here, so check more than one site.  I bought one about 10 years ago from a miniaturist.  Sadly that person is no longer with us, but I know there are others out there.

There are of course many other sizes and I have used some of them.  Included a compression fit 2x2x3 to make small rooms for 1:48 scale, gift display boxes - the ones with the black base is the bottom, not an extra thing.  All of these will work, it all depends on the size of the project. 

Other sources for cases besides the local hobby stores like Hobby Lobby and Michael's and online like Amazon or ebay are sport shops and thrift stores.  Also any place that sells collectibles might have different sizes and styles.  When it comes to thrift stores this is always hit or miss, but I have gotten some great deals this way. 

Bases can be then made from foam core board, builders foam, wood (if you have the right equipment), cake stands or candle stands.  

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Day 31 of Organizing

This has been fun sharing with the internet my ideas on organizing this month.  I certainly have shared more than ever before.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have.  I will be indexing these ideas and posting it sometime in February.  
Today  I want to emphasize my ideas about organizing.


  • Should be fun not a chore - find a way to make it fun
  • Help you feel lighter - 
  • Free you of unwanted items
  • Be about recycling or repurposing when possible
  • Is about making your life easier - not more complicated
  • Hopefully will make you more productive
  • Should lessen the time it takes to find something 
  • Give you more time to spend making minis
  • Should work for you, not about what works for me
  • Should be Categorized for the way you look for things
  • Will take time
  • May help decide what you want to focus on
  • Should be simple as possible
  • Should help keep things from becoming damaged
  • Should help keep you from being damaged as well
  • Doesn't have to be expensive
  • Doesn't have to look pretty, although that is fun.
  • Should help to keep things used most often closer at hand 
  • Should help you find things quicker
  • Should help you to want to put things away
  • May become addictive
  • May spread to other areas of your life
  • Should be easy to maintain
  • May help you to be more creative
  • Should help make room for other minis
  • Solutions can be used in more ways than one
Until I post again....
Happy Miniaturing and Miniature Organizing!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Other Stuff and Things - Day 30 of 31 Days of Organizing

I have made crafts of some sort for as long as I can remember.  My main focus is miniatures but I still consider myself a scrapbooker.  Most of my other hobbies have fallen by the wayside and I did donate many of those supplies.  But I do still have a few that linger.
Since I still consider myself a scrapbooker - although I haven't done much of anything with that in over a year, I do have a dedicated area in my studio.  This is because I have the space.
This shelving unit is where that stuff is stored.  I have added extra shelves to make things more convenient to get to those items when need them.  I do use some of the tools from scrap-booking for minis - like the pink cutter that cuts paper.  The other is the black marker binder has markers that i use as needed for either hobby.  
Before I had this studio and these extra shelves, my scrapbook stuff was stored in tubs and it was mighty inconvenient when I wanted that pink cutter.  I didn't use it enough for minis to justify buying a second one.  But I do have certain tools that I keep duplicates of so are dedicated to one hobby or the other.

I don't make much in the way of dolls, so one box works.  There is some items in here, like ribbon, that realistically I could move to another storage location.

Crochet and Cross Stitch
Then here is another box of those related items.  My cross stitch thread is a cross over item, although maybe not as much as it used to be.  I collected quite a bit of it and so have two divided boxes nearly full of these stuff.  I have considered donating it, but not yet.
The thread boxes stack nicely under my ribbon and trim tin, so they may stay for a while longer.  They are organized by number as that is how I used them when doing cross stitching.  My dilemma with donating or selling is do I do so in the whole lot, or groups and also do I keep some colors just in case I need them for minis.

In the black shelf unit I showed above is a smaller plastic 3 drawer container.  It has all my sewing supplies left over from when I used to sew clothes and quilt.  I have one drawer of thread and I have considered donating that as well.  

For now while I have room for these things, I see no real reason to let go of them.  But I also accept that is not necessarily a reason to keep them.  To me donating or selling is as much about someone else getting use of them as it is to rid my self of them or make a few dollars.  

Come back tomorrow for Day 31 - my final post this month on Organizing,