Sunday, December 29, 2013

My New Year's Mini Projects

In addition to launching my new e-Zine, Creative Miniaturist, and creating minis for my Etsy Shop, I have "resolved" to work on some of my own personal miniatures for my own enjoyment alone.


PROJECT #1

First on the list is to put together my McKinley dollhouse. I have had this dollhouse box stored under our bed for years. It was a Christmas gift from Andrew years ago and every now and then he asks me when I will be putting it together and my answer is always "When I get some time."
The McKinley by Greenleaf

Well, as you and I both know, time is what you make it. I must make the time for this project this year, for Andrew.

I love this dollhouse because it is made to hang on the wall. It is quite shallow in depth, so it functions more as a shelf than a dollhouse, so is perfect for displaying my mini collection of children's toys. I now just need to find the wall space!

I have been gathering together miniature toys for several years and have quite a collection, so have decided that the McKinley will be a toy shop. I already have several shop fixtures as well, so the toys now only needs a home. The toys are from various mini artisans and major manufacturers. Others are not even intended as minis, but fit well into the theme as they are.

I have a lot of work to do!


PROJECT #2

The other project that comes to mind is to finish my fairytale cottage. It is 3/4 done, but still needs some brick work done on the chimney and exterior, not to mention a base for the whole piece. I also have to mend the leading in the windows (more on that in another post,)
add front porch posts, create fairytale furnishings and accessories, etc.



I'll post pix and how I did it as I continue to work on the cottage.


PROJECT #3

This project is really more of a challenge. I have always wanted to produce a trash to treasure room box. That is, a miniature room box created entirely from found objects. I want to be able to create an entire scene using only what I already have here in my home and studio to create furnishings and accessories. I don't want to have to purchase anything except perhaps glue if I run out.


I believe it will be easier if I do a contemporary or modern scene so that I won't be restricted by historic accuracy. Pretty much anything goes in an ultra-modern home. Although I don't normally gravitate to modern decor, I think for this project it will be fun to see what I can come up with by using such random objects as a napkin ring and a cereal box originally meant for the garbage.


What miniature projects do you have planned for 2014?




Friday, December 27, 2013

Still Looking For Miniature Artists To Feature!!

Happy Holidays to all my readers!

I am hard at work creating my miniature themed e-zine,
Creative Miniaturist and hope to launch it this January.
For a more in depth explanation of this project,
read my original post here.


I am still in search of miniature artists to be featured
and would love to hear from anyone that is interested in
being interviewed or has a project to share, with the
option of having their work posted on my site as well
as in the e-zine.

If you have any questions or interested,
just contact me via my email.



Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all my American friends , hope you are enjoying a very Happy Thanksgiving!





Sunday, November 3, 2013

Free Advertising Offer!

Because my day job is in magazine publishing as a production manager and graphic artist, it only seemed natural that I would eventually take advantage of the internet trend of publishing an online e-zine. There can never be too many dollhouse miniature magazines, am I right?


So I have begun to create a new miniature e-zine, Creative Miniaturist, which will feature articles and tutorials dedicated to freely sharing knowledge for creating fabulous dollhouse miniatures on a shoestring budget.

I would love to find other creative, like-minded miniaturists interested in sharing some of their unique miniature skills. This is a free, online magazine created simply for the love of the hobby. There is so much out there that we are obligated to spend our hard-earned money on, why not create something fun at no cost? 

This is also a great opportunity for anyone that would like some free advertising. Could you use more exposure for your miniature shop, blog or website? Let me know and I will send you the media kit that will explain all you need to know to create an ad or have one created for you to run in the first issue of Creative Miniaturist. 

If you, or anyone you know, would like to contribute to the first issue of Creative Miniaturist, whether it be your own miniature creations, an informative article or someone you know within the miniature world that deserves a shout out, just email me at diane@dianecostanza.com and we’ll chat!



Take a peek at the sample issue pages below and ask me how you can become involved!





Thursday, September 26, 2013

1/4 Inch Scale or O Gauge

While I am a passionate dollhouse miniaturist, my husband has his own compulsions with model railroading, a passion that encompasses a whole 15' x 20' room in our house.

I believe it may have been a key element in how we became a couple and managed to stay together for 23 years married. We understood each other's obsessions and supported one another wholeheartedly. He began in the smaller of scale of HO trains but eventually went returned to his childhood scale of collecting Lionel O gauge, which is equivalent to our dollhouse miniatures in 1/4" scale.

Though I am most comfortable in 1/12 scale when I make my own miniatures, I have often helped him out with the 1/4 inch O gauge by painting his houses and building kits.

Below is a recent Frosty Bar I painted and assembled for his layout. I added the interior 2D fixtures, flooring and menu board from images I found on the internet to give the shop a bit more realism.







I really enjoy working on these kits, seeing how the pieces come to life and that they take very little time compared to a dollhouse kit. It reminds me of a roadside ice cream stand from my childhood, The Jolly Cow in Kingston, NY.

I now have a replica of the Addams Family Mansion on my worktable destined for the train layout. As Halloween is just around the corner, I am excited to get this model underway. I may add it to the Halloween house decor while it waits for its permanent home on the train layout.




Although it will take me away from my miniatures for a short while, I enjoy the challenge of working in the smaller scale. 

What do you think? Do you work in any of the smaller scales?






Monday, August 5, 2013

"No More Sugar" Update

At the risk of turning this art blog into temporary healthy living blog, I wanted to share some of my findings after a few days of being off sugar.

First, do you all realize that sugar is in almost every packaged food sold today? Even the savory foods?

It is in many foods you would never even think of as sweet. I have decided to just stay away from all processed foods, but sometimes that just isn't possible, so I am in search of unsweetened alternatives.

I was staggered as I began reading labels at the grocery store and found sugar in 9 out of the 10 items I would pick up. Even meat. I know that some meats are cured, but I guess I never thought that much about the curing process until I had to check each item before making a purchase.

Have I been living under a rock for all these years? Just totally naive is more like it.

Here are some of the foods I was surprised to find some added form of the sweet, sticky stuff I have always adored:

italian bread crumbs
sauasage
cured ham steaks
whole wheat bread
every cereal except puffed rice

I think I need to take a trip to Trader Joe's or Whole Foods Market to find a better unsweetened selection. I want to find a good whole wheat bread without added sugar. I'm ok living without all the other carbs (potatoes, white bread, etc.), but whole wheat bread I am finding it hard to do without.

I have even adjusted to drinking my tea without any sugar, I just add a dash of 1% milk to cut down on the acidity and I rather enjoy it, especially vanilla chai tea.

In any case, I believe I am doing really well and I have lost several pounds and the 1st week isn't even up yet. Also, I am not doing the treadmill as usual, so I look forward to upping my game by getting back to walking every morning.




Friday, August 2, 2013

My Sugar Addiction!

I am a sugar addict - there, I said it. I have an out-of-control craving for sugar. It is safe to say that I drink tea and coffee all day just for the sugar. The problem is, that I find myself adding more and more sugar to my coffee and tea as my resistance to sweet grows. This is not a good thing for neither my diet or my health.


As of yesterday, August 1st, I have cut out all sugar from my menu for the next four weeks in an effort to bring my addiction under control and to actually lower my tolerance of sweets. I am using this SparkPeople article to guide me.

My goal is to be able to put a single teaspoon into my coffee and consider it sweet enough.


I was very good yesterday, but today I did eat a bagel, which is made with white flour and ultimately becomes glucose in your system. Not to worry. I have never been perfect, so if I stumble, i will get right back on the horse. I promised that much to my husband that no matter how badly I stumble, I will continue on and not give up. He is concerned for my health, "Do it for yourself and for our son," he reminds me.

So, I sit here with my sugarless Orange Pekoe tea and think positive thoughts.


Wish me luck!


Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Christmas in July Sale!!

I'm having a CHRISTMAS IN JULY
MINIATURES SALE in my ETSY Shop!!



Just use coupon code
CIJDCOSTANZA
at checkout to receive
25% OFF everything
in my shop throughout the
entire month of July!!


Happy 4th of July!


Linking to:


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

New Scorching Red Gown!

I have another wedding next mont, a "black tie optional" affair and I wanted a new dress for the occasion. I haunted all my favorite online Plus Shops and had many candidates to choose from, as the plus-size fashion offerings have become twenty times better than in the past. But I love nothing more than a deal, so I continued to wait until I found the perfect dress at the perfect price.

OneStopPlus.com led me right to this hot, red Jessica London gown! (No, that's NOT me! But thank you if you thought so!)



It was 75% off in the clearance section, plus an additional promo took another $11 dollars off! The $200 gown cost me $59! At that price I was willing to have it altered to fit, but when I tried it on yesterday, it fit like a glove. Sooo happy! I just need to take it to the cleaners to be steamed pressed and I'll be ready to go at the end of july.

Don't you love when it all comes together?

I have the ruby slippers,  now I just need to find jewelry and a fabulous handbag!


Monday, June 10, 2013

New Mini Teddy Bear Dolls

This weekend I posted two miniature teddy bears,
each in its own doll case, on Ebay.

I have listed them both to begin at the lowest possible bid of .99¢,
so you have a very good chance of winning one of these adorable,
dollhouse doll's teddy bears for your miniature nursery or toy shop.



I will have a few more to list in the coming weeks!



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Miniature Shabby Chic

My most recent miniature project is now complete and listed in my Etsy Shop:
 a set of 1/12 scale miniature furniture that I have refinished in the shabby chic style



I sanded off the original cherry wood finish, primed each 
piece with artist gesso, including the scarlet red fabric
of the sofa and matching chair. Next I painted all
the furnishings with a warm, pale yellow acrylic. 


All the drawers and shelves were then lined in
decorative papers.


Finally I accented the details of the furnishings with
blue and pale rose acrylics. Before rubbing the painted
areas with a wash of brown antiquing gel, I sanded and
nicked random areas to achieve the shabby chic look.


The desk was dressed with ladies desk accessories, including
a pink "glass" ink well, lacy ink blotter, quill pen and even a cup of tea.
The drawers open to reveal letters, cards and other ephemera.


The linen cupboard is edged in lace and dressed
with coordinating sheets and linens.


This set that began as a traditional red fabric victorian sofa & chair 
was refinished with hand-painted roses and decorative scrolls.