Thursday, 8 November 2018

Commission update: 3 different jobs

Good evening Littlest Sweet Shoppers

Just a short one tonight - an update on some current commissions that were dispatched in September & October. It's been a busy month for me since I spent a week in the south of England with my in-laws so there was a lot to catch up with.

I had 4 small commissions with ongoing Etsy orders. As you know I only post custom requests here on the website. Etsy is more like an online shop where you can purchase ready made miniatures that we already have in stock. You can commission an order via this website (by submitting the order form) or even by messaging me through Etsy, Instagram and Facebook. All commissions will be billed via Paypal so you are also getting Paypal buyer protection.

The first commission is for 1:3 scale items. I made 2 bubble teas and 3 Littlest Sweet Shop snacks in the bigger 1:3 scale. The green bubble tea is supposed to be melon flavour. I hope the Littlest Sweet Shopper in America will enjoy all of these goodies.
All 3 Littlest Sweet Shop snacks in 1:3 scale
Bubble tea in 1:3 scale
Another order came from a Littlest Sweet Shopper from Germany. She was doing a bar diorama scene in 1:6 scale and wanted a bowl of crisps that you get for free at a bar. I suggested to make small vacuum formed bowls that was already used for our take-away salad. She also ordered enough crisps and cheese snacks to fill up each bowl. Hopefully now the diorama is finally complete!
Littlest Sweet Shop vacuum formed bowls filled with snacks
Last but not least, an order for a new Littlest Sweet Shopper in America. She has been working on a German Christmas market stall and ordered a few of our German lebkuchen to display. She requested a custom Lebkuchenherzen with 'Omi' which means grandma in German. It's to honour her own Omi which I thought was very sweet. There were also newly made Elisenlebkuchen which are square and round shaped plain lebkuchen with almonds. Lebkuchen reminds me of Christmas so I will definitely be making more in the next update.
Various lebkuchen for client
Custom Lebkuchenherzen with 'Omi' which means grandma and simple leaf designs
That's all for tonight. I know there wasn't a new product update for October since I was away for a week and busy with commissions/Etsy sales but there will definitely be one for November. I want to try to update new products around middle of the month like I used to rather than rush it before the month ends like a marathon race (another explanation why there wasn't any for October). This month new items will include even more candy, box of chocolates (prepping early for Valentine's Day), Littlest Fast Food Happy Meal, more German lebkuchen and possible new packaging items for Christmas. I just had a very minor surgery done a few days ago so I'm still recovering and feeling sorry for myself but I am still motivated to bring in new cute miniatures by next week. Thank you for visiting Littlest Sweet Shop and remember to come back again for the new updates.

Bye!

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Making of Pink Tudor

Hello Littlest Sweet Shoppers

I am so shocked because I couldn't find photos I took from when I first started building the dolls house except for these ones. I did take pictures throughout every step but since it started around summer of 2017, I realised that it will take a long time to finish so no point uploading the photos yet. However when I searched in all of my photo albums in 2017, I couldn't find a single one! 

There is only 1 camera so I usually take hundreds of photos of Littlest Sweet Shop miniatures alone so I can't help thinking that I probably deleted them on the camera (due to limited space) since I assumed they were already on my laptop's hard disk. These are photos I took after I continued building it again in June this year. It's a shame since I really wanted to compare how it looked from when I first started building in 2017 but there's nothing else to be done really. 

Anyway let's get to it! This is a Greenleaf kit which is made out of sheets of pre-cut plywood. It isn't cabinet grade plywood like PuppenHaus (1:6 scale dolls house from Real Good Toys) but strong enough for a smaller build. I never planned to build another dolls house after PuppenHaus but someone was selling this kit for a bargain and I had leftover paint and materials from the first dolls house so I thought, "Why not?".

Greenleaf kits come from America but way cheaper than Real Good Toys kits. I had a lot of issues building this one as it isn't as straight forward as the Real Good Toys kit so there was a lot of regret even just after a few weeks of building. There were too many problems faced and when I did some research online I found out that this was one of the toughest kits to build from Greenleaf and a LOT of people gave up half-way through.

I don't give up easily but I was very frustrated with every single aspect of the build. The instructions was all text with a few drawings. There were NO detailed pictures for reference so you can imagine how confusing it was when I had no clue whether the end of the beam would be exposed, or not (for example). 

I continued on despite the lack of clear instructions and many occasions of trial and error. Too many times parts were glued and pulled apart again. You only find out once you build a few steps ahead and realised that Wall F was put in wrongly. Very frustrating and I even read that someone was so frustrated with this kit that they left it on the side of a motorway! Indeed it was tempting to lift it up and smash it into hundreds of pieces (so satisfying!) but I told myself to NEVER GIVE UP!

My husband kept saying that I shouldn't have cheapened out and get a proper (more expensive) kit since I spent probably three times more time on building Pink Tudor than I did on PuppenHaus. The pieces are actually only pre-cut so I had to physically knock-out and remove every piece carefully. There were hundreds of components and thousands of roof shingles which took days just to remove. Then it had to be sanded before it could be assembled. It takes 24 hours to wait for glue to dry for each step and there were hundreds of different steps! The workload almost drove me to madness and by September of 2017 I thought it will never be built. I stopped building by October 2017 since it started to get cold and there was a lot of sanding involved which I only did outdoors. 

I manage to start making miniatures again while Pink Tudor just sat in the corner of my room. I couldn't simultaneously do woodwork and make miniatures since polymer clay attracts dust like magnet and there was a ridiculous amount fine dust when I'm building.  

When I came back from holiday at the end of May 2018, I continued my quest. I kept building, sanding, gluing, cutting everyday for 3 months without making any polymer clay miniatures. I really missed playing with clay but I knew that I had to continue building otherwise it will never be built. 
May 2018 after 2 coats of pink 'Rose Trellis' paint on the main building
Without the roof installed.
I only had experience from building the PuppenHaus 4-5 years ago which I thought would be advantageous. I remembered what a pain it was decorating after the main house was built so I made sure to glue on the wallpaper and paint the interior before it it was assembled. I used Dulux satin paint for the main building which is the same pink custom colour from PuppenHaus. Dulux satin white was used to paint all components, ceilings and inside trim. Tudor is traditionally black and white but I've decided from the start to make mine pink and brown. Beams were painted in Dulux gloss in chocolate but the outside trim of the house is actually painted in matte acrylics also in chocolate. The floors were scored before it was painted in semi-gloss wood stain.  
Because there were no detailed pictures, I had to guess which bits should the wallpaper cover. I often just cut around the walls but never expecting another 'bay window' to be attached through an opening.
The wallpaper is also from Tilda paperstock (leftover from PuppenHaus) and there were a few pages where the pattern was scaled down and perfect for 1:12 scale. 
I stopped building in 2017 just after installing the beams so when I continued I totally missed the step saying that the beams should be glued on to another piece. Instead I glued the beams directly onto the ceiling.
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Every single component had to be sanded, painted, wait 24 hours, sanded and painted again. As you can imagine it is a very time consuming process especially when you are also trying your best to give it a nice finish. These window and door trim for example probably took almost a week to prepare and install. In this Greenleaf kit, nothing has been made, not even windows.
Window and door trims, sanded, painted, sanded and re-painted. Everything gets at least 2 coats.
The roof was probably the most annoying thing to install as the parts didn't fit at all and I had to saw a few pieces. After that it took me almost 2 weeks to glue on thousands of shingles onto the roof. Everything on the edge had to be manually re-sized and trimmed and this was all during the very hot summer of 2018! I couldn't find the right kind of stain for the shingles here in the UK so had to leave them as it is unless I wanted to paint them. 
Such a relief once roof is finally installed even though there was a lot of hacking involved.
Since so many hours have already been spent just trying to build the kit, I invested more time in making a very realistic looking brick-effect chimney. This probably took a little over a week to make as I had to hand-cut each piece of brick in polymer clay. I mixed different shades of terracotta bricks by mixing it with grey-ish scrap clay and even gold clay to make it look more real. 
Use PVA glue to paste each hand-cut brick directly onto the wood
Fill gaps with FIMO air dry clay
Bricks are mixed in different shades for realism
Finally there was the optional picket fence which took probably 2 weeks to build as there were over 100 tiny picket fences to sand, paint, re-sand, paint. 
Fence posts went up first. Must leave for 24 hours to let glue dry fully
The house was completed with some door handles and components which I bought separately because none came with the kit as it is very basic. The front yard was completed with dollhouse grass and a stone pavement which is also made from clay. It was relatively easy and you can shade the stones with more soft pastels for additional shading and added realism.
Granite clay rolled out thinly and draw out stones using a needle
Cut to the size of the pathway and shade with pastel on edges
Finally after a year I had a new 1:12 scale Tudor style dollhouse! Currently I haven't added any furniture nor lighting. The kitchen has some bits here and there but it's mostly used to store any 1:12 miniatures that I had so that it was separate from the 1:6 miniatures. I don't plan to furnish it yet as furniture can be quite expensive and I think I spent too much time on this project already. As and when I see something I like, it will be added to Pink Tudor and I will do a blog update once that is ready. I'm not planning to add interior furnishings like curtain rails or curtains since I usually do that last after furnishing the whole house. I will probably get LED lights for it this time since wiring a dollhouse is a tedious process which I regretted doing for PuppenHaus.

I'm sure I sound like I moaned a lot through the process of building this and in hindsight I probably shouldn't have gotten a cheaper kit in the first place. I was determined to finish it only because I already started it and my husband was sweet enough to buy me the kit. My advice for anyone who wants to build a dollhouse from a kit is to make sure that you are willing to put in a lot of time into doing it properly or as close as you can to perfect. PuppenHaus is around 5 years old now but still looks brand new thanks to 2 paint jobs on the main house and components. Always use a good paint and remember to always sand the wood before the paint goes on and leave it for at least 24 hours for the paint to soak thoroughly into the wood the first time. All of the effort is worth it especially when you can be proud of something you built with your own sweat and tears.

At least now I finally have a 1:12 scale dollshouse and a new ongoing project. This is the most popular miniature scale so it's something which would come in handy for me especially since I plan to make more 1:12 scale miniatures in the future. I don't see myself building another dollhouse anytime soon but I still plan to make more miniature wooden furniture one day. Next summer I will build a new diorama for Littlest Sweet Shop since the current one would have been 6 years old and urgently needs updating!

That's all for today. I'm busy with small orders which is coming in via Etsy but I hope to debut more new miniatures before Halloween. Don't forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for miniature food tutorials and follow me on Instagram to find out what I am up to via Instagram Stories.

Bye!

Monday, 15 October 2018

New 1:12 scale Dolls House 'Pink Tudor'

Greetings Littlest Sweet Shoppers!!

I'm pleased to finally introduce you to my new 1:12 scale dolls house. The name is Pink Tudor and it is the home of Kokomi-chan. It is all plywood (except for the roof shingles) and came from a Greenleaf kit. This model is called Glencroft and it has so many wonderful details like a curved gable roof and winding staircase.

There are 4 rooms, a chimney and a front yard complete with white picket fences. The windows are printed silk screens and I glued thousands of small wooden shingles for the roof. It took a year to build this dollhouse but I will talk about the LONG PROCESS in another blog post next week.
'Pink Tudor' home of Kokomi-chan
Matte brown trim. White picket fences
The gate was the only thing I managed to hinge so it can open and close

Right Bay window
Terracotta chimney made from polymer clay and air dry clay
Front bay window
Flower box on the kitchen window
Dolls house grass
So much detail and character
All angles of the house look photogenic and I could finally photograph my Mimo carnival snacks collection with a nice background. The front yard is also detachable so the house can stand on its own without it.
Mimo carnival street food stands
Cotton Candy stand
Popcorn stand
Kokomi-chan, resident of Pink Tudor
Enjoying a rainbow scoop from Littlest Sweet Shop
Like most American designed dollhouses, it is a back opening style. In the UK it is more common to see dollhouses where you can open the front of the house to reveal the inside. It still hasn't been fully furnished yet and that would be an ongoing project. I'm quite particular about the type of furniture I want so it will take time to hunt down the perfect pieces and furnishings.
Inside Pink Tudor. 4 large rooms still unfurnished
The kitchen is the only room with some furniture since they were bits and bobs I had lying around. Currently I am also keeping any 1:12 scale miniatures in this dollhouse just to keep them separate from the 1:6 scale stuff.
Kitchen. All beams are painted in glossy chocolate (including beams in living room and outside)
Bathroom
Bedroom. Has a seat by the bay window and a fireplace.
Winding staircase. Connecting the bedroom to the living room
Living room with bay window, shelf, bookcase, and fireplace. 
Pink vintage style fridge and German cooker from Schopper (the doors actually open and close!)
Kitchen bay window with some handmade items by Littlest Sweet Shop
I will be updating the blog with any additional updates when I start adding furniture into the house. Please continue to follow my journey into this wonderful new project by following Littlest Sweet Shop on Instagram where you will find my daily 'stories'. Visit again next week when I reveal how I built this dolls house from sheets of pre-cut wood. 

Bye!


Friday, 5 October 2018

Etsy Christmas Store now OPEN!

Good morning Littlest Sweet Shoppers.

We are happy to announce that our Christmas Shop is finally live on Etsy! Please visit https://www.etsy.com/shop/LittlestSweetShopUK to purchase read-made products. This online shop is only opened once a year (until February 2019) and stocks are limited so take this advantage to purchase our products through the online check-out. 

Etsy Store

Naru's shopping cart is filled with 'essentials' made by Littlest Sweet Shop
Stuff for sale include Gingerbread Houses, whole cakes, cake slices, ice cream, Littlest Fast Food, Littlest Groceries and more!
I live in rural England which is lovely but doesn't have a post office. Even the post office in the nearest town shut down this summer! However we do have a mobile post office which comes to the village every Tuesday morning from 9am-10am. From now on, ALL commissions and Etsy sales will go out on Tuesday morning.  It takes me an hour to pack and label your packages so please order by Monday so that I can ship it the next morning. I really apologise that I can't dispatch items quickly anymore but I will try my best to deliver them if it is an urgent delivery.

Have fun shopping! Bye!

Sunday, 30 September 2018

New Arrivals September: Packaged candy range and more Rainbow food!

Hello Littlest Sweet Shoppers

September has passed us by so quickly! It may be the last day of the month but I think I managed to list quite a few things here today. There are still some which need photo taking so I will try my best to update them by next week.

I barricaded myself indoors these past few weeks and developed a new range of candy, complete with their packaging and displays. It has been a tremendous project and I worked really hard on this from designing the graphics on Adobe Illustrator to printing and assembling each miniature by hand. The reason I was rushing to finish off this project is because I knew that it would be the perfect miniature for Halloween.
Akiko loves shopping our selection of commercial sweets and treats
Each of the pre-packaged items are not meant to be opened but you can request an open pack and order the loose piece separately. Since I have created all of the artwork from scratch, you can also order them in 1:3 scale since I can just scale it up.
New Littlest Sweet Shop miniatures. Chocolate bars, bubble gum, packs of sweets and so much more
The first new item is 'Skittles' - the famous bite sized candy in fruit flavours like apple, orange, grape, lemon and orange. I managed to also model loose pieces of the fruit candy so they are completely uniform in size and 3D.
Bite-sized fruit candy loose pieces in 5 different flavours
Perfectly scaled and modelled for 1:6 scale dolls
All Littlest Sweet Shop products will have cute details even on the back!
M&Ms is probably the most famous pack of candy in the world. We don't offer the plain type but we made our own Peanut variant as it also happens to be my favourite.
Loose pieces comes in 6 colours
Have a pack of this candy as a treat when you are studying
The next one is for chocolate lovers. Smooth milk chocolate in a crisp chocolate shell - one of the most iconic pieces of candy.
Milk Chocolate balls
Another type of candy which is handy to have is a roll of mints. Loose pieces of the mint is also available with the tiniest hole in the middle.
Loose pieces of mint with tiny hole in the middle
Keep a roll of mint and gum handy in your doll's handbag
The last new piece of candy is a Japanese bubble gum from a company called Marukawa. It's the kind of gum which has a piece of temporary tattoo in every pack (but not available in miniature). It comes in Strawberry flavour although our Sweets Boutique also offers the loose pieces in any flavour you want. 
Japanese style strawberry bubble gum
You can also order an unwrapped piece with the foil, gum and paper
The only items missing are the Pop Rocks and 'Snickers'. I have only made the packaging, not the miniature loose pieces so hopefully it will be on the website by next month. If you are interested in ordering it first, let me know as it is available to commission.

All of the new candy is listed in our Sweets Boutique and we opened a new menu Chocolatier to separate chocolate products from the Sweets Boutique. 

There are also display boxes for each type of candy. Each display can be customised to fit your order but there will be a minimum size per box. Use these boxes to create your own candy aisle in a miniature supermarket. 
Display boxes so your dolls can see clearly what is on sale
There are 2 types of display boxes. The plain open box is the most basic box and available for smaller types of candy. The sides will have a cute graphic so it will be perfect to display on a counter top.
Details on the open boxes are cute graphics so you can display them with clear labels for each product
Boxes can be resized to fit your order. However there will be a minimum size
The other type of display is the premium type. It is larger and designed for bigger packages of candy. The display also have nice details printed on the sides and can be customised according to your order. 
Premium display boxes
Cute details on every box
I also designed a premium display box for our Bear Lollipops. This is made to fit 16 Bear Lollipops. 
This is a bigger display but required to display the chocolate bears individually
Combine all our different types of candy display to create your own sweet shop
Packs of Oreo cookies are now available in the Groceries menu (loose pieces available in the Cookie Shop menu). The package is also not designed to be opened but you can request an opened one with loose Oreo pieces. 
Mix and match items for your shop shelf
Now you have everything to create your perfect miniature store
This rainbow shaped cake is huge and makes a very cute centrepiece for any occasion. It is now available in our Cakes menu. The frosting and icing layers are made from a different modelling materials to make it look more realistic and delicious. The cake layers are brightly coloured but also look soft and airy. The top icing looks light and fluffy. It is decorated with rainbow dot sprinkles.
Decorated with rainbow dot sprinkles
6 layers of cream and cake. Realistic looking cream
Last but not least is version 2 of our Rainbow Bagel from the Bread menu. Version 1 followed the colours of the original Rainbow Bagel from America but I prefer these colours instead. They are also modelled like how they are made in Japan.

Rainbow bagel is perfect with coffee
That's all for now. I am currently doing a small commission and will be busy listing new items on Etsy next week for our Christmas shop. There will be a lot of new listings for ready made miniatures (limited amounts) so make sure you act fast! 

After that I will list the Snickers and Pop Rocks miniatures on the website and hopefully have the chance to take photos of the new dollhouse. I wanted to take photos of the house in the garden but it was so cold and windy that it had to be postponed to next month! I really wanted to show you my new dollhouse as soon as it was finished and if you followed me on social media there have been some sneak peaks.

There will also be a new YouTube tutorial where you can learn how to sculpt hollow Jack O' Lantern style pumpkins just in time for Halloween. OMG I am so busy this whole month of October! YIKES!

Bye!